( AP ) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed hope Wednesday for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to Iran's nuclear row.
"I think we can handle that one diplomatically," Powell said in a keynote speech at a Seoul forum, saying that Tehran appeared determined to move toward having a nuclear program and perhaps nuclear weapons. He did not elaborate.
His comments came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a veiled warning against any attack on Iran as he began the first visit by a Kremlin leader to Tehran in six decades.
Many Iranians fear that the U.S. could attack their country over the West's suspicions that the Iranians are secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denied the accusation, saying his country had "no plans to create this deadly weapon." Iran says it needs enriched uranium to fuel nuclear reactors that will generate electricity.
Putin also said last week that he had seen no "objective data" showing Tehran is trying to construct nuclear weapons.
Powell, the secretary of state under President Bush from 2001 to 2005, also said North Korea is still a "potential threat" but added he is pleased that the six-nation arms talks aimed at stripping Pyongyang of its nuclear program have started to show progress.
North Korea conducted a nuclear test detonation a year ago, prompting Washington to soften its previous hardline stance toward the reclusive communist nation to help facilitate progress in nuclear disarmament talks.
The North shut down its main nuclear reactor in July and pledged recently to disable its main nuclear facilities and declare all its nuclear programs by year's end in return for economic aid and political concessions.
Powell was to return home later in the day after one day visit to Seoul to deliver a speech at the World Knowledge Forum, an event hosted by South Korea's Maeil business newspaper.