“The American people do not want a march to war,” spokesman Jay Carney said, in a significant stiffening of U.S. rhetoric towards opponents of a proposed interim agreement with Tehran on Capitol Hill, AFP reported.

Carney warned that if Obama’s efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear crisis diplomatically failed, or were blocked, he would be left with few other options, among them, a military one.

“The American people justifiably and understandably prefer a peaceful solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and this agreement, if it’s achieved, has the potential to do that,” Carney said.

“The alternative is military action,” he added.

Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to address lawmakers on Wednesday and try to convince them not to toughen their position on Iran at the moment.

“The secretary will be clear that putting new sanctions in place would be a mistake while we are still determining if there is a diplomatic path forward,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

Kerry wants a “temporary pause” on new sanctions to allow diplomats from six world powers, including the United States, to negotiate with Iran and to test whether it may be possible to resolve a 10-year standoff over the Iranian nuclear program, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

“What we are asking for right now is a pause, a temporary pause, in sanctions,” she added. “This is about ensuring that our legislative strategy and our negotiating strategy are running hand in hand,” Psaki said, according to Reuters.

Negotiations over the weekend between Iran and the major powers failed to reach an agreement on curbing the program, which Washington and its allies believe may be designed to develop nuclear weapons - something Tehran denies.

(With AFP and Reuters)