OBAMA

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sire to al­low eco­nomic sanc­tions to force Iran to give up its pro­gram.

But the pres­i­dent ac­knowl­edged that Iran’s lead­ers have shown a ten­dency “to de­lay, to stall, to do a lot of talk­ing but not ac­tu­ally move the ball for­ward.”

“Do I have a guar­an­tee that Iran will walk through this door that we’re of­fer­ing them? No,” Mr. Obama said. “I think they should un­der­stand that be­cause the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has ap­plied so many sanc­tions, be­cause we have em­ployed so many of the op­tions that are avail­able to us to per­suade Iran to take a dif­fer­ent course, that the win­dow for solv­ing this is­sue diplo­mat­i­cally is shrink­ing.”

Mr. Cameron said the pres­i­dent’s “tough, rea­son­able ap­proach has united the world be­hind un­prece­dented sanc­tions pres­sure.”

But the prime min­is­ter also said that “noth­ing is off the ta­ble,” in­clud­ing mil­i­tary ac­tion.

“That is es­sen­tial for the safety of the re­gion and the wider world,” Mr. Cameron said.

Last week, in meet­ings with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, Mr. Obama said he wanted more time for sanc­tions to work to com­pel Iran to give up any plans to de­velop nu­clear weapons. Is­rael re­port­edly is more in­tent on bomb­ing Ira­nian fa­cil­i­ties.

In Tehran on Wed­nes­day, Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad was dragged be­fore par­lia­ment to face un­prece­dented ques­tion­ing over his poli­cies, suf­fer­ing another blow from hard­line op­po­nents who now have the up­per hand.

The full hour of pos­tur­ing, pot­shots and prob­ing — broad­cast live on Ira­nian ra­dio — was a les­son in the un­for­giv­ing re­al­i­ties of Iran’s two-tiered po­lit­i­cal sys­tem and how it shapes all crit­i­cal de­ci­sions, in­clud­ing Tehran’s nu­clear pro­gram and the stand­off that pro­gram has cre­ated with the West.

The rul­ing Is­lamic cler­ics re­tain ul­ti­mate con­trol over ev­ery key as­pect of po­lit­i­cal, mil­i­tary and in­dus­trial af­fairs, in­clud­ing hand-pick­ing the top posts in the gov­ern­ment.

When Mr. Ah­madine­jad of­fered some re­sis­tance, the blow­back was harsh, with one-time con­ser­va­tive back­ers break­ing away and the rul­ing sys­tem launch­ing po­lit­i­cal purges of his al­lies.

The par­lia­men­tary grilling in­cluded no ques­tions about the nu­clear pro­gram or Iran’s re­sponse to Western sanc­tions.

“We didn’t want to come,” Mr. Ah­madine­jad ac­knowl­edged to the 290seat cham­ber.

Then he vowed to be a “good stu­dent” and an­swer the ac­cu­sa­tions point by point. They in­cluded al­le­ga­tions that he had mis­man­aged the econ­omy and ques­tions about his high-pro­file po­lit­i­cal tem­per tantrum in April, when he stayed away from Cabi­net meet­ings for 11 days af­ter Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei or­dered the re­in­state­ment of the in­tel­li­gence min­is­ter whom Mr. Ah­madine­jad had dis­missed.

The cur­rent par­lia­ment is evenly split be­tween Mr. Ah­madine­jad’s crit­ics and back­ers, but the new cham­ber — which will be seated in May — is firmly in con­trol of his op­po­nents. Only a hand­ful of seats are held by re­form­ers, marginal­ized since mass street demon­stra­tions failed to over­turn the dis­puted 2009 elec­tion in which Mr. Ah­madine­jad was re­elected.

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