Following a meeting Thursday with Japanese defense and foreign ministers, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in Tokyo, Kerry said his "hope is that there is a way forward" with Iran.
"Nothing we do is going to be based on trust. It's going to be based on steps," he said. "A country that generally wants to have a peaceful program does not have difficulty proving that it's peaceful."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said he wants to engage with talks about Iran's nuclear program to improve relations with the West. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, speaking from the General Assembly at the United Nations this week, said Rouhani is "a wolf in sheep's clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community" and would fool the United States about its nuclear ambitions.
"It would be diplomatic malpractice of the worst order," Kerry said, not to engage in a diplomatic solution to the longstanding conflict with Iran.