Nightly News   |  September 19, 2013

Kerry: Rouhani’s comments ‘very positive’

In response to Ann Curry’s interview with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Secretary of State John Kerry characterized Rouhani’s words as “very positive” but said everything “needs to be put to the test.” While most of the world reacted positively to the Iranian leader’s statements, Israel remained skeptical that Iran has stopped its nuclear program. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> from washington and around the world. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell at her post at the state department again tonight. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. based in part on those comments to ann curry , u.s. officials are eager to test the new president of iran 's seriousness, possibly as early as next week in new york when both leaders will be at the united nations . president obama and rouhani have broken the ice with a warm exchange of letters mr. obama initiated. as headlines from around the world noted his comments to ann curry disavowing a nuclear threat. there was a clear change in tone from iran . is it a positive sign coming in this interview?

>> the comments have been positive. but everything needs to be put to the test. we'll see where we go and at the right moment i think the white house and state department will make it clear where we are heading.

>> reporter: though iran usually blocks iranians from twitter now rouhani is tweeting pictures of him with ann, even retweeting a picture of a prominent human rights lawyer his government released along with political prisoners wednesday. zarif returned to the u.n. today where he's known well from years as iran 's u.n. ambassador.

>> the president used a lot of sugar coated words. he did so deliberately in order to deceive. we don't need words. we need actions. we need them to stop their nuclear program .

>> reporter: british officials say they are cautiously optimistic. france's president hollande will meet with him next week.

>>> andrea mitchell at the state department tonight. thanks.