WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry held out an olive branch to sanction-hit Iran on Friday, saying the world would respond if Tehran seriously addressed its nuclear programme at upcoming talks.

“The choice is really ultimately up to Iran,” Kerry told his first press conference since becoming America’s top diplomat a week ago.

Tehran, which has been hit by crippling international sanctions, has agreed to meet with the six world powers working to rein in its suspect nuclear programme for a new round of talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan on February 26.

In his first comments on Iran since taking the helm of the State Department, Kerry assured the Iranian leadership that “the window for diplomacy is still open” as they prepare for the next talks.

“The international community is ready to respond if Iran comes prepared to talk real substance and to address the concerns, which could not be more clear, about their nuclear programme,” the secretary of state said.—AFP

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