Washington: Maintaining that the US won't allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, newly-appointed Secretary of State John Kerry has said it is upto Tehran whether it wants a diplomatic solution to the problems or is ready to face an isolation on the global front.
"The (Obama) administration, the (US) President, has made it clear that his preference is to have a diplomatic solution. But if he cannot get there, he is prepared to do whatever is necessary to make certain that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon," Kerry said yesterday.
The top diplomat, who was giving his maiden media address with visiting Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird after being sworn, however stopped short of elaborating the possible US measures in case diplomatic efforts did not materialize.
US President Barack Obama has been saying that the military option is not off the table.
"We are committed, I emphasize, we are committed to preventing Iran from securing a nuclear weapon. And we will continue our dual-track policy of both pressure and engagement," Kerry said.
Asserting that the US is still looking for a diplomatic solution, Kerry said America will be having a meeting with Iranian officials in Kazakhstan in a fortnight.
"We've made our position clear. The choice is ultimately up to Iran. The international community is ready to respond if Iran comes prepared to talk real substance and to address the concerns, which could not be clearer, about their nuclear programme. If they don't, then they will choose to leave themselves more isolated. That's the choice," he said.
Kerry said the announcement the Iranians themselves had made in a letter to the IAEA in which they announced a different kind of centrifuge is concerning and "disturbing."
"We are prepared to let diplomacy be the victor in this confrontation over their nuclear programme. The President has made it clear that he's prepared to talk about a peaceful nuclear programme," he said, sending a message to Tehran.
Iran needs to prove to the world that it is peaceful, Kerry said, adding the US is ready to play its part in ensuring that Tehran fulfils all UN requirements.
Baird said Canada shares the huge concern with respect to the potential of a nuclear Iran.
"We believe that beyond Iran's support, material support for terrorism, beyond their abysmal and deteriorating human rights record, the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran is the biggest threat to international peace and security," he said.
"I share the view that a diplomatic solution is possible. We strongly support the P-5 plus one initiative. We support having and maintaining and increasing top sanctions against the Iranian regime. We want them to change course and rejoin the international community," he said.
First Published: Saturday, February 09, 2013, 09:17