(photo credit: AP)
"I'm not reconciled with [Iran's possession of nuclear weapons], and I don't think the international community is reconciled with that," US President Barack Obama said Thursday in an interview with the Associated Press, ahead of a trip to Moscow.
Scheduled to depart next week on a trip to Russia, Italy and Ghana, the US leader praised Moscow for its cooperation in attempting to persuade North Korea and Iran to abandon their nuclear development programs.
The United Nations recently approved "the most robust sanction regime that we've ever seen with respect to North Korea," Obama went on to say.
The US president said his agenda in Russia includes talks on a new treaty to curtail long-range nuclear missiles.
On Afghanistan, Obama said that he will reassess the possible need for additional American troops after the Afghan national elections in August.
Asked how he defines US success in Afghanistan, the president said Thursday the main US goal is to keep the al-Qaida terror network from acquiring a haven from which it can train fighters and launch attacks on the United States or its allies.
Obama said the United States and its allies also must build up the Afghan national army and police and enable neighboring Pakistan to secure its borders against terrorist movements.
In reference to his upcoming trip, Obama hinted that Russia was still clinging to Cold War mentality.
The US president chided Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for keeping "one foot in the old ways of doing business." By contrast, he said Putin's handpicked successor as president understands that Cold War behavior is outdated.
Obama said he will meet with both Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev on his trip, in hopes they can "move in concert in cooperating with us on some critical issues."