The United States on Sunday appeared for the first time to hold out the possibility that Iran might play a role on the sidelines of a Syria peace conference even if Tehran is not formally invited.
At a news conference in Jerusalem, Kerry reiterated U.S opposition to Iran being a formal member of the so-called "Geneva-2" talks scheduled for Jan. 22 in Switzerland because it does not support a 2012 international agreement on Syria.
Kerry, in a shift in tone, held out the possibility of Iran playing a constructive if limited role at the conference even if it does not endorse the 2012 agreement reached in "Geneva-2".
Senior U.S. officials said they believed it was the first time Kerry had publicly raised the possibility of Iran playing some kind of role at the talks without signing up to the Geneva 1 principles.
" Iran could participate very easily if they would simply accept the Geneva 1 premise on which Geneva-2 is based" Kerry said, referring to the 2012 pact calling for the formation of a transitional government with the mutual consent of the Syrian government and opposition.
He stressed "We are happy to have Iran be helpful. Everybody is happy to have Iran be helpful".