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Obama: Syria debate is diplomacy lesson for Iran

Monday - 9/16/2013, 2:10pm  ET

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iran's President Hasan Rouhani steps out of his plane upon arrival to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. 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/Presidency Office, Hojjat Sepahvand)

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.

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