US Secretary of State John Kerry has defended ongoing nuclear talks with Iran in an apparent rejection of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for more pressure against Tehran.
Washington has "an opportunity to try to put to test whether or not Iran really desires to pursue only a peaceful program, and will submit to the standards of the international community in the effort to prove that to the world," Kerry said at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Monday.
"I suggest that the idea that the United States of America, as a responsible nation to all of humankind, would not explore that possibility would be the height of irresponsibility," he added.
Kerry made the remarks one day after Netanyahu once again repeated his accusations against Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program.
The hawkish Israeli premier also demanded more pressure on Tehran instead of continuing negotiations.
Last week, Netanyahu said it would be a “tragic mistake” to ease pressure against Iran.
The Islamic Republic of Iran held nuclear talks with the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) in Geneva earlier this month. The two sides are set to meet again in Geneva on November 7-8.
During his speech, Kerry also rebuffed the Israeli demand for more pressure and said "some have suggested that somehow there's something wrong" with giving diplomacy a chance.
"We will not succumb to those fear tactics and forces that suggest otherwise," the top US diplomat said.
Meanwhile, the White House said in a statement that US President Barack Obama spoke to Netanyahu about Iran on Monday.
Netanyahu has repeatedly called on Washington to toughen sanctions and the language of military threat until Tehran dismantles its uranium enrichment program.