Secretary of State Pick John Kerry Talks Tough on Iran and Economy in Senate

Eyes Smooth Sailing After Confirmation Hearing

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By Reuters

Published January 24, 2013.

(page 2 of 3)

Menendez told Reuters he expects the committee to vote to confirm Kerry by Tuesday - possibly as soon as Monday - with a vote by the full Senate soon afterward.

WILL CONTAIN IRAN

Kerry stressed his commitment to Obama’s policy of seeking a diplomatic solution to persuade Iran to give up its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Tehran says its program is solely for peaceful purposes.

“He (Obama) and I prefer a diplomatic resolution to this challenge and I will work to give diplomacy every effort to succeed,” Kerry said. “But no one should mistake our resolve to reduce the nuclear threat.”

Kerry said “everybody’s very hopeful that we can make some progress on the diplomatic front now” and that Obama had made clear his willingness to have direct negotiations with Iran if need be.

Critics have said Kerry failed to seek tougher sanctions to discourage the Islamic Republic from pursuing its nuclear program.

Kerry told Menendez, an ardent advocate of tighter sanctions, he was “totally” committed to enforcing them.

Kerry also said during the hearing that he will push for a revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, suggesting the United States could consider a new peace initiative despite the failure of Obama’s first-term efforts.

“We need to try to find a way forward, and I happen to believe that there is a way forward. But I also believe that if we can’t be successful, the door, window … to the possibility of a two-state solution could shut on everybody, and that would be disastrous in my judgment,” he said.



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