President Barack Obama and French President Fran?ois Hollande stand for the national anthem during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/ J. Scott Applewhite)
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President Barack Obama weighed into two international struggles Tuesday, vowing to come down like "a ton of bricks" on firms that violate sanctions against Iran and acknowledging that Syrian peace talks were far from reaching their goal.Obama made the remarks at a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande, a key partner in both the Syrian and Iranian efforts.The Obama administration has objected to the interest French businesses have shown in Iran since the sanctions were eased.When Obama threatened a military strike against Syria following a chemical weapons attack there last year, France was the only European ally ready to join that effort.Obama says the transformation stands as a testament to how Washington and Paris have worked to transform their alliance, as the two presidents worked to project a renewed relationship between their countries after hitting a low point more than a decade ago over France's staunch opposition to the American-led war in Iraq.Obama said there was no country with which the United States had "a no-spy agreement".Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and a military honor guard welcomed Hollande as he arrived at the White House.
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