White House prods Iran over nuclear deadline

AP News
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Posted: Dec 22, 2009 6:45 PM

The White House is warning Iran's leader to take seriously a year-end deadline over its nuclear program, responding sternly to defiant language by the Iranian president.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ah-muh-DEE'-neh-zhahd) on Tuesday dismissed a looming deadline from the Obama administration and its allies for Tehran to accept a U.N.-drafted deal to swap enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. President Barack Obama wants Iran to respond to an offer of dialogue and show it will allay fears of weapons development.

Otherwise, Washington and its allies are warning of new, tougher sanctions on Iran.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Ahmadinejad may not recognize the deadline but "it is a very real deadline for the international community."