US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said that it would be "the height of irresponsibility" for Washington not to test Iran's diplomatic overtures in regard to its nuclear program.
In what could be construed as a reference to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's warnings to the world not to fall for the "charm offensive" of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Kerry stated that the US would not "succumb to fear tactics," of those who oppose diplomacy.
Speaking at a Washington gala in support of nuclear disarmament, Kerry said that the US 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."
In the past months the prime minister has been portrayed as leading a solitary campaign to increase economic pressure on Iran precisely at a time when the international community is disposed to refrain from further financial penalties as a good will gesture to help improve the chances of a negotiated solution.
On Sunday Netanyahu defended that characterization, even as he explained he does not believe it is reflective of reality.
“This [halting Iran’s nuclear program] is vital and important for the security of Israel and, in my view, the peace of the world. Then certainly we are willing to stand alone in the face of world opinion or changing fashion,” Netanyahu said.
“But in fact we are not alone because most, if not all leaders, those with whom I have spoken, agree with us.
There are those who say so fully and there are those who whisper and there are those who say so privately. But everyone understands that Iran cannot be allowed to retrain the ability to be within reach of nuclear weapons,” he said.
The prime minister briefed his cabinet on his conversation in Rome last week with Kerry and explained that halting Iran’s nuclear weapons program was one of the main topics in their seven hour meeting.
Netanyahu also discussed Iran with US President Barack Obama in a telephone call on Monday night.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.