sanctions being leveled against Iran, the regime continues to get closer to possessing a nuclear weapon.
"Lines have been drawn before and they've been passed," Kerry said.
"That's why the president has been so definitive this time. This is a
very challenging moment with great risks and stakes for everybody
because the region will be far less stable and far more threatened if Iran were to have a nuclear weapon."
Kerry sat down with ABC News' Martha Raddatz in Qatar as his first
overseas trip as President Obama's secretary of state wound down.
Kerry said the threat extends beyond the possibility that Iran could
actually use the weapon on its enemies, specifically Israel. Iran simply
having a nuclear weapon would "spur a nuclear arms race" in the region
and could be used to support terrorists groups like Hezbollah, he said.
The secretary warned that despite last week's negotiations in Almaty between the United States, it's allies and Iran, which he called "useful," time for Iran to cooperate is running out.
"If they keep pushing the limits and not coming with a serious set of
proposals or prepared to actually resolve this, obviously the risks get
higher and confrontation becomes more possible," he said.
On Syria, the other major focus of this trip, Kerry reiterated that the
status quo in the conflict-ridden country is not acceptable. With more
than 70,000 people killed over the last two years and recent reports of
President Assad al-Bashir using Scud missiles to attack civilian areas,
the secretary acknowledged that America must do more.
At a Friends of Syria Meeting in Rome last week Kerry announced the
United States would give an additional $60 million in non-lethal aid to
Syria's political opposition. The money will be used for communications
equipment, training advocates and local governing councils, and to help
the opposition deliver services and food to Syrians living in
But Kerry also announced that for the first time the United States will
be providing non-lethal aid to Syria's military opposition too. For now
the help will consist of food and medical supplies, but ABC News learned
last week that the aid could eventually include body armor, military
training and even tanks.
Kerry would not specifically comment on whether the United States is
considering additional aid to the rebel fighters, or on the timing of
that decision, but said that it is clear Assad needs to go – and
"There is a holistic, united effort now that is focused on trying to
save lives in Syria, and make it clear to President Assad that we are
determined and that he needs to think hard about his calculation in
raining Scuds down on his population," said Kerry.
Syria's opposition also has its own problems with extremists elements
increasingly playing a role, including carrying out a suicide bombing
attack, which killed more than 50 people in Damascus earlier this month.
Kerry said that the international community has to be careful about
making sure a post-Assad Syria is not substituting one oppressive
situation for another.
"I want to emphasize for all of the Alawites who are fearing for their
future, for the Christians, or the Druze, or any group there, Sunni,
Shiite – they all need to know that the vision of the Syrian opposition,
the promise of the Syrian opposition is to have a Syria in which all
votes are represented and protected," he said. - ABC