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Obama calls Sarkozy, Medvedev on Iran nuclear plan

Air Force One is pictured on the tarmac of Boston Logan Airport as U.S. President Barack Obama's motorcade returns from fundraisers for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, October 23, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday to consult on Iran’s nuclear program, the White House said.

In their call, Obama thanked Sarkozy for France’s close cooperation during the negotiations in Vienna toward an agreement responding to Iran’s request for fuel for a Tehran research reactor, and both presidents affirmed their full support for the proposal put forth by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the White House said.

In his call to Medvedev, Obama thanked him for Russia’s leadership in developing the proposal and both Medvedev and Obama affirmed their full support for the proposal and discussed the importance of all parties accepting it so implementation can begin as soon as possible, the White House said.

In the framework of the so-called P5+1 talks on Iran, both Obama and Medvedev underscored the need to maintain Russian and U.S. unity in pursuing the two nations’ mutual concerns about Iran nuclear program.

The United States, Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany have been holding talks with Iran about its nuclear program which Western countries fear could be aimed at building a nuclear bomb. Tehran says its program is peaceful.

Tehran has said it will respond next week to the IAEA proposal under which it would send the bulk of its stock of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for further processing into fuel for the Tehran reactor.

Obama and Medvedev also discussed other issues, including continued work to finish a new START treaty by the end of 2009. The current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expires on December 5.

In his call to Sarkozy, the two presidents expressed U.S.-French unity on Iran and agreed to continue their close consultations in the weeks ahead, the White House said.

In Tehran, influential Iranian lawmakers on Saturday criticized the U.N.-drafted agreement, which requires Tehran to send its atomic stockpile abroad for processing.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Mohammad Zargham