Washington: Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday raised doubts if Iran was truly prepared to conclude a final deal with western powers on dismantling its nuclear program, but urged US lawmakers not to impose new sanctions.
"I came away from our preliminary negotiations with serious questions about whether or not they`re ready and willing to make some of the choices that have to be made," Kerry told US lawmakers.
"Has Iran changed its nuclear calculus? I honestly don`t think we can say for sure yet. And we certainly don`t take words at face value," Kerry told the House foreign affairs committee.
The top US diplomat, who helped hammer out an interim six-month deal with the Islamic republic to freeze parts of its suspect nuclear program, said "believe me this is not about trust."
"Given the history we are all rightly skeptical about whether people are ready to make the hard choices to live up to this."
But he stressed Iran`s seriousness would be put to the test over the six months set out in the November 24 interim deal hammered out last month in Geneva.
Iran has denied accusations it is seeking to acquire a nuclear weapon under the guise of its civilian atomic energy program.
Kerry said "we now have the best chance we`ve ever had to test this proposition without losing anything" and he urged lawmakers to hold off imposing new sanctions on Tehran to give negotiators time to work.
"I`m not saying never ... If this doesn`t work we`re coming back and asking you for more. I`m just saying not right now."