U.S. President Barack Obama says he will work with the outgoing U.S. Congress on new war powers to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Speaking on November 5, a day after his Democratic Party was soundly defeated in midterm Congressional elections, Obama also expressed cautious optimism about reaching a deal with Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program.
The two issues could be harder for the White house to maneuver after the newly elected, Republican-dominated Congress convenes in January.
Obama said he would update congressional leaders about the fight against Islamic State militants during meetings in Washington on November 7.
On Iran, Obama said it is unclear whether the United States and other major world powers will be able to strike a permanent nuclear deal with Tehran over its nuclear activities.
But he said the likelihood of an agreement with Iran should become clear in the next three to four weeks.
Obama also said there had been progress in the nuclear talks with Iran, and that a permanent nuclear deal would benefit Iran, the region, and the world.
But he said it is an "open question" whether the Iranian leadership will accept a nuclear deal.
World powers and Iran have set a November 24 deadline to reach a permanent deal on their dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
Obama said he would only present a deal to U.S. lawmakers if he is satisfied the agreement ensures Iran will not be able to secretly develop or obtain a nuclear weapons capability.
He said such a deal also must "convince the world and the public that it will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."
Tehran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful, civilian purposes and wants the international community to lift crippling sanctions that have been imposed against Iran.
Republicans secured a majority in the Senate from Obama's Democratic Party in the November 4 elections and strengthened their majority in the House of Representatives.
Obama vowed to work with Republicans in a "productive" way after the newly elected Congress convenes in early January.
He said the Republican victories in the midterm elections were a sign that voters want their elected leaders in Washington "to get the job done."
Earlier, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who is in line to be the next Senate majority leader, said American voters expect Republicans and the Democratic White House to find "common ground" and take fast action on important legislative issues.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP