John Kerry
John KerryAFP photo

“The clock is ticking,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Iran on Friday, adding that Israel will do what is necessary to defend itself against the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

Speaking to reporters at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Kerry said that he is not optimistic that Iran's upcoming presidential election will result in any change in the country's nuclear ambitions.

"I do not have high expectations that the election is going to change the fundamental calculus of Iran," Kerry said. "This is not a portfolio that is in the hands of a new president or the president; it's in the hands of the supreme leader. And the supreme leader ultimately will make that decision, I believe."

Kerry said the U.S. would continue to pursue a peaceful resolution to the impasse but warned that time is running out. Iran's persistent defiance of international demands to come clean about its nuclear program makes the world more dangerous, he said.

"Iran needs to understand that the clock is ticking," warned Kerry.

"Every month it goes by gets more dangerous. And the reality is that Israel will do what it needs to do to defend itself," he stressed.

Meanwhile on Friday, the departments of State and Treasury unveiled new sanctions on Iran, which hit companies in the Persian Gulf, Cyprus and elsewhere for helping blacklisted Iranian firms succeed in everything from securing new planes to concealing the origin of banned crude exports.

On Thursday, the United States had eased some of the earlier sanctions it has imposed on Iran, lifting a ban on sales of communications equipment to Iranians and opening access to Internet services and social media.

The latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA), released last week, found that Iran is making significant progress in expanding its nuclear program, including in opening up a potential second route to developing the bomb.

Diplomatic efforts to resolve the impasse, most recently in six-power talks with Iran in Kazakhstan in April, have failed to make concrete progress.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)