Iran will make a great mistake if it misinterprets US intentions, Senator John Kerry said in Israel Monday, later also endorsing "paralyzing sanctions" against Tehran.
The former presidential candidate, who currently serves as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, convened a press conference in Jerusalem Monday, where he noted Congress' concern over recent developments in Iran.
Kerry said that it is critical that the international community adopt a firm stance against Iran that includes tough sanctions. The remarks seem to contradict the official position expressed by Washington, which officially objects to the imposition of paralyzing sanctions.
The visiting senator noted that Iran's conduct undermine global efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation, and said the sanctions must make Tehran's options clear to the Ayatollah regime.
Tehran will make a great mistake if it fails to act as expected of it, or misinterprets the Obama Administration's and Congress' willingness to "hold them accountable for their actions," Kerry said.
Anyone who wants a safer and nuke-free world realizes this is incommensurate with a nuclear Iran, he said.
Turning his attention to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to designate controversial heritage sites in the West Bank for renovation, the senator said the decision was understandable yet its timing should have also been taken into consideration.
After meeting with President Shimon Peres, Kerry said that the US is eager to see Israel and the Palestinians resuming peace negotiations.
"We'll be glad to help in any way we can," Kerry said. During the meeting, the senator and Peres also discussed the Iranian threat and the latest developments on the Syrian front.
Roni Sofer contributed to the report