WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Senator John Kerry, the secretary-of-state-in-waiting, pledged on Thursday to pursue a diplomatic resolution to Iran's controversial nuclear program.
Addressing a hearing on his nomination as next secretary of state by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the veteran lawmaker outlined his vision for American foreign policies as President Barack Obama just kicked off his second four-year term.
"We will do what we must do to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and I repeat here today, our policy is not containment," he said, adding "It is prevention, and the clock is ticking on our efforts to secure responsible compliance."
The Obama administration has set a March deadline for Iran to begin "substantive cooperation" with the International Atomic Energy Agency or face the UN Security Council.
The Islamic republic had three rounds of talks last year with Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, the so-called P5+1, but made no breakthrough.
Stating he prefers a diplomatic resolution to the issue as the president does, Kerry declared that "I will work to give diplomacy every effort to succeed, but no one should mistake our resolve to reduce the nuclear threat."
"Given our extraordinary interests in non-proliferation, we must resolve the questions surrounding Iran's nuclear program," he added.
Washington and its allies have imposed crippling sanctions on Iran on top of the UN Security Council measures, fearful the country's nuclear project is aimed to develop nuclear weapons. But Tehran insists on the peaceful nature of its program.
In his address, Kerry envisioned an American foreign policy shaped not only by drones and troops in a more complicated world, but also by other top concerns.
"President Obama and every one of us here knows that American foreign policy is not defined by drones, and deployments alone," he told the committee which he has chaired in the past four years.
"We cannot allow the extraordinary good that we do to save and change lives, to be eclipsed entirely by the role that we have had to play since Sept. 11, a role that was thrust upon us," he said, referring to the anti-terrorism efforts launched after the terrorist attacks on America in 2001.
"American foreign policy is also defined by food security, energy security, humanitarian assistance, the fight against disease, and the push for development, as much as it is by any single counterterrorism initiative," he added. "And it must be."
Kerry, 69, was a decorated Vietnam veteran. He became an anti- war hero after returning home from Vietnam in 1969.
"Having served with valor in Vietnam, he understands that we have a responsibility to use American power wisely, especially our military power," Obama said last month when he nominated Kerry for the top diplomatic post.
Facing his peers, Kerry called climate change a "life- threatening" issue, as Obama has pledged to respond to its threat in his inaugural address on Monday.