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US Secretary of State Nominee John Kerry has promised to keep up the pressure over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The former Massachusetts Senator is US President Barack Obama’s choice to replace Hillary Clinton.

Kerry told a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday that he would be “totally” committed to enforcing US sanctions against Tehran.

Some analysts expect him to take a much tougher stance once in office, which could involve military action.

“In the next four years, President Obama and Secretary Kerry will have to decide: ‘do we strike Iran or not?’ It’s hard to imagine four more years of this slow motion path towards an Iranian nuclear weapon without Iran actually getting the weapon. So I think this next four years is decision time,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a Senior Fellow from the Brookings Institution.

Kerry also hit out at the ongoing political fray in Washington over America’s finances. He warned Congress that the US needed to fix its economy to maintain its role as a world leader.

“My plea is that we can summon across party lines an economic patriotism which recognises that American strength and prospects abroad depend on American strength and results at home.”

Senators are due to vote on Kerry’s nomination next week. Most think his confirmation will sail through.

Reporting for euronews in Washington, Stefan Grobe said: “There is no doubt that John Kerry is going to be confirmed as the next US secretary of state. He will take over at a time when people around the world are looking to America for leadership. Today he made clear that he is ready to do the job.”

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