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Washington (AFP) – The White House Tuesday warned lawmakers mulling tougher sanctions on Iran that thwarting U.S. diplomacy could leave President Barack Obama little option but to use military force against Tehran’s nuclear program.

“The American people do not want a march to war,” spokesman Jay Carney said, in a significant stiffening of U.S. rhetoric towards opponents of a proposed interim agreement with Tehran on Capitol Hill.

Carney warned that if Obama’s efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear crisis diplomatically failed, or were blocked, he would be left with few other options, among them, a military one.

Officials had earlier warned that the kind of new sanctions being mulled by bipartisan senators on Capitol Hill could alienate Iran’s negotiating team and embolden hardliners in Iran that oppose dialogue between President Hassan Rouhani’s envoys and the United States.

“The American people justifiably and understandably prefer a peaceful solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and this agreement, if it’s achieved, has the potential to do that,” Carney said. “The alternative is military action.”

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