President Barack Obama said Sunday that a “window is closing” on Iran but there still is time for diplomacy. He did not set a deadline, but it would likely be after the presidential elections in November.
The president made his remarks to reporters in Seoul on the eve of a nuclear security summit. “I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplomatically, but that window is closing," the president said.
President Obama’s statement was nothing new – he said 10 days ago that the diplomatic window is “shrinking,” but his constant talk on Iran represents his determination to jawbone Israel by demonstrating willingness to strike Iran militarily to keep it from attaining nuclear capability.
The U.S. administration still is banking on economic sanctions to convince Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to cooperate with United Nations officials and allow them open and free inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities.
The president is anxious to avoid another military intervention in a foreign country before the elections, but Israel is worried that November will be too late as Ahmadinejad continues to fortify nuclear facilities in mountainous areas and under concrete bunkers.
A military battle with Iran before the elections also would create what is perhaps a worse problem for President Obama – soaring oil prices.
"Right now the key thing that is driving higher gas prices is actually the world's oil markets and uncertainty about what's going on in Iran and the Middle East. That's adding a $20 or $30 premium to oil prices, and that obviously affects gas prices,” he said in an interview with the American Automobile Association (AAA).
AAA, which reports on national gas prices, reported that the national average of the price at the pump is $3.89 a gallon, nearly 20 percent higher than at the beginning of the year.
The state-controlled Iranian Fars News Agency told its readers that a “prominent member of the Iranian parliament” said that President Obama exempted 11 countries from tough sanctions against purchasing Iranian crude in order to keep gasoline prices from rising further.