Kerry hopeful for progress with Iran on diplomatic front

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STORY: U.S. Senator John Kerry, President Barack Obama's nominee to be secretary of state, said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he is hopeful there can be progress with Tehran on the diplomatic front.

Critics have said he has failed to push for tougher sanctions to discourage the Islamic Republic from pursuing its nuclear program.

The Yale-educated son of a foreign service officer, Kerry, 69, also spoke of his own ties to the foreign policy community saying, "If you confirm me I would take office as secretary proud that the Senate is in my blood, but equally proud that so to is the foreign service."

"My father's work under Presidents both Democrat and Republican n took me and my siblings around the world for a personal journey that brought home the sacrifices and commitment that men and women of the foreign service make every day."

Obama nominated the Massachusetts senator to succeed Hillary Clinton as the country's top diplomat last month, after Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, withdrew from consideration amid scathing Republican criticism of her handling of a September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

He and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, have agreed to divest nearly 100 separate investments in the United States and abroad if he becomes the country's top diplomat.