Last updated: 13 November, 2011

Obama: US, Russia seek ‘common response’ on Iran

President Barack Obama said the United States and Russia would seek a “common response” to Iran’s nuclear challenge, despite strong reservations about new sanctions expressed by Moscow.

After meeting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Obama said both sides “reaffirmed our intention to work to shape a common response so we can move Iran to follow its international obligations when it comes to its nuclear program.”

US officials said before the talks on the eve of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii that Obama would personally impress upon Medvedev deep US concerns over a UN watchdog’s report that Iran worked on nuclear arms.

But Moscow, along with China, is cool to a US desire for more sanctions on Tehran following the release of the International Atomic Energy Agency report which heightened fears of Israeli military action against Iranian nuclear sites.

US officials have signaled that should UN Security Council permanent members Russia and China oppose further multi-lateral sanctions on Iran, Washington would seek to build support for sanctions elsewhere.

They said Washington would work with “like-minded states” to tighten a sanctions regime which US officials believe has brought the Iranian economy to a near standstill.