U.S. News

Obama: Iran 'On Notice' After Nuclear Fuel Disclosure


President Barack Obama says Iran is on notice following the disclosure of an underground plant to make nuclear fuel that could be used to build an atomic bomb.

He says the international community has spoken. Now he says it's up to Iran to either choose to give up what the U.S. says is the desire for nuclear weapons and abide by international standards, or continue down a path toward confrontation.

President Obama: G-20 & Iran

The president would not rule out military options. But he says his preferred course of action is to resolve the standoff diplomatically. (See Obama on Iran and G-20 at left.)

Earlier, Obama and the leaders of France and Britain accused the Islamic republic of clandestinely building an underground plant to make nuclear fuel. Obama called the international response "an unprecedented show of unity."

Obama also asserted that he and other leaders of the world's 20 largest economies took actions that "brought the global economy back from the brink" and saved or created millions of jobs.

"We leave here today confident and united," he said at the conclusion of a two-day summit to deal with the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.

CNBC Slideshows:

He spoke as world leaders lined up behind sweeping promises designed to fix a malfunctioning global economic system in hopes of heading off future financial meltdowns.

The leaders agreed to leave stimulus programs in place for now until recoveries are more firm. "We must make sure that when growth returns, jobs do, too," he told a wrap-up news conference.

"We brought the global economy back from the brink. We laid the groundwork today for long term prosperity," Obama said.

"It is important to recall the situation we faced" in April when the Group of 20 leaders last met and when talk was rampant about a second Great Depression.

President Obama Q&A

In a statement issued at the conclusion of the summit, the full G-20 leadership echoed Obama's sentiment. "It worked," the statement said of stimulus and other measures taken by the world leaders. (See Obama's Q&A at left.)

"Pittsburgh was a perfect venue for this work," Obama said of the one-time despairing Rust Belt city. "This community has known its share of hard times. It picked itself up and dusted itself off. It serves as a model for turning the page to a 21st century."

Obama brushed off demonstrations in the city. He said they were mild compared with some in the past at international gatherings.

"I fundamentally disagree with their view that the free market is the source of all ills," he said. "Many of the protests are just directed generically at capitalism. ... One of the great things about the United States is you can speak your mind."

Obama said that tough new financial regulations backed by the G-20 summit would help avoid another economic crisis.

He also said that G-20 leaders would spare no effort to reach a global warming agreement at an international gathering later this year in Copenhagen. Summit leaders agreed to a bid by Obama to reduce government subsidies for fossil fuels such as oil and coal that contribute to global warming. He said if fully implemented, the move would phase out $300 billion in global subsidies.

"All nations have a responsibility to face this challenge," he said.