Obama: Syria debate is diplomacy lesson for Iran

President Barack Obama says his administration

In this May 2, 2013, photo, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani delivers a speech during his campaign for the presidential election in Tehran, Iran. The U.N. has slotted the new moderate-leaning president to address the global gathering of leaders on Sept. 24 - just hours after U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to wrap up his speech. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says his administration's approach to Syria's chemical weapons should show Iran that there's the potential for diplomatic solutions to arms standoffs.

But he says Iran shouldn't assume that his preference for diplomacy means the U.S. won't strike Tehran.

Obama tells ABC's "This Week" that Iranians understand that their pursuit of a nuclear weapon is "a far larger issue for us" than the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Obama says he has exchanged letters with Iran's new president, but the two have not spoken directly.

Obama says he believes Iranian President Hasan Rouhani (hah-SAHN' roh-HAH'-nee) understands the potential for a diplomatic solution to his country's disputed nuclear program but will not "suddenly make it easy."

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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