Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryLobbying world Kerry: Trump not pursuing 'smart' or 'clever' plan on North Korea Tillerson will not send high-ranking delegation to India with Ivanka Trump: report MORE (D-Mass.) says leaders in the Middle East and South Asia have told him they want the U.S. to engage Iran diplomatically.

"Every person I've talked to in the region recently -- and particularly when I was just in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- thinks we ought to be dealing with Iran," Kerry told reporters today in a conference call. In February Kerry traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Turkey with Sen. Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelPentagon documents hundreds of serious misconduct cases against top brass Obama defense sec: Trump's treatment of Gold Star families 'sickens' me The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Neb.).

"We need to negotiate; we need to be engaged with Iran. Not give up any principles, but at least engage in a way that allows us to use Russia and China and the Europeans and others to hopefully find a different path here," Kerry said.

The conference call focused on the upcoming testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker; the two will appear before Congress tomorrow and Wednesday to report to lawmakers on Iraq.