The Washington Times - April 18, 2013, 04:59PM

Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Thursday called on lawmakers in Washington to “be a little patient” with ongoing diplomatic talks between Iran, the U.S. and others in the international community over Tehran’s suspected drive to obtain nuclear weapons.

Six-party negotiations with the Islamic republic had shown signs of progress during recent months, with some analysts believing Tehran may be shifting toward allowing new inspections of its nuclear sites by UN officials. But the most recent round of talks — held earlier this month in Kazakhstan — yielded no progress, prompting some lawmakers question whether it was time for more urgency.

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In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday, Mr. Kerry acknowledged that “the last round of talks was less than the United States hoped for.” But, he added, “I think this is a moment for us to be a little patient.”

He noted that Iran is heading into its own domestic elections in June and suggested that he does not believe Tehran is on the verge of any major weapons development breakthrough with regard to its nuclear program.

“I am personally not expecting something dramatic to happen over the course of the next two months,” he said, adding that U.S. intelligence officials are capable of tracking the situation “very effectively.”

Separately, the State Department announced on Thursday that Mr. Kerry travel back to Istanbul, Turkey, on Friday to meet with members of Syria’s coalition of opposition groups to “further explore ways that the international community can support the opposition and accelerate” a political transition in the war-torn nation. The trip will mark Mr. Kerry’s third visit to Turkey since being confirmed as the Obama administration’s second secretary of state in January.

After Istanbul, he will travel to Brussels, Belgium, from April 22 to April 24 to participate in a meeting of NATO foreign ministers focused on “protecting member states against current and future threats, in light of regional and global security challenges,” the State Department said.