Press TV - Political heavyweights in Washington say they no longer seek a "regime change" in Iran, urging the country to begin engagement with the US in earnest.
Two days after former US House speaker, Newt Gingrich, openly advocated regime change in Iran in an address to the 2009 AIPAC policy conference, Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, said that Washington is not in a 'regime change mode'.
"Our efforts must be reciprocated by the other side: Just as we abandon calls for regime change in Tehran and recognize a legitimate Iranian role in the region, Iran's leaders must moderate their behavior and that of their proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas," said Kerry, who currently chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Kerry said his panel would release a report this week on Iran's nuclear issue, which would underline the need for diplomacy backed by the threat of tougher sanctions.
Former top US negotiator, Nicholas Burns, backed Kerry's remarks, saying that decades-long attempts to isolate Iran and topple the Tehran government had "not worked".
"I think it would be helpful if the American administration was to say overtly and clearly that [regime change] is not our policy," said Burns, who served as the number three official in the US State Department under the Bush administration.
He, however, warned that Iran should expect harsher sanctions, if it goes on with its uranium enrichment activities.
Israel and its Western allies accuse Tehran of developing nuclear weapons -- a charge rejected by Iran.
Burns rejected the notion of a military attack on Iran, saying that Washington has learned the hard way that war has "unintended consequences".
"We learned in Iraq that sometimes when you start a war you don't know where it's going to end, and that's certainly the case with Iran," he said.
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