White House says next six months are key for diplomatic resolution in Iran

The next six months represent an important opportunity to resolve the nuclear crisis in Iran through peaceful diplomatic means, the White House said on Monday.

Josh Earnest, the principal deputy press secretary for the White House, made the remarks on Monday during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to San Francisco. When asked what the next step on Iran would be, Earnest said the U.S. will consult with its Israeli allies and begin conversations with the Iranians.

"The goal here is to make sure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon," Earnest said. "The goal for the Iranian regime is to have access to a nuclear program of some kind. There should be an opportunity for us to find some common ground there."

Earnest said that the common ground reached between Iran and the U.S. would need to be mutually agreed to. He said the comprehensive agreement must satisfy the international community's concerns about Iran's pursuit of nuclear capability.

Earnest said it is President Obama's preference that the international community resolve the situation with Iran through peaceful diplomatic means over the next six months.

"That is the strong preference of the president for a couple of reasons," Earnest said. "One is that that is what the American people prefer, is a peaceful resolution of this. Just as importantly, it's also the way to ensure the most enduring solution, and that if there is a mutual agreement between the P5+1 and Iran about what the path is moving forward, and if there are mutually agreed upon verification measures through intrusive inspection, that's the way that we can resolve this situation diplomatically and welcome the people of Iran back into the international community."