Michael Chertoff, who also talked about Russia - U.S. relations, terrorism, non-proliferation and the Iranian nuclear issue was asked whether the U.S. would launch an offensive attack against Iran over nuclear weapons concerns.
He said: "No... we need to continue to press the international community with respect to sanctions and other instruments to encourage the Iranians to comply, become transparent in their actions and not progress along the path that ultimately leads in a very dangerous direction."
Chertoff stressed the importance of non-proliferation stating that it was a top priority for U.S. collaboration with Russia, saying the two countries had "to make sure that weapons of mass destruction" did not find their way into "the hands of new states or terrorists."
Describing relations between Russia and the U.S. he said the two countries had "a very cooperative and constructive relationship."
He went on to say the two countries did not "always agree" but discussed their disagreements adding, "We also have a lot of common interests."
Touching upon terrorism he said though there had been no terrorist attacks in the U.S. since September 11, 2001, the "issue is still present" adding Russia and the U.S. had "good" cooperation in the field discussing ways to share information and "hard lessons."
Late last year, the IAEA issued a generally positive report on Tehran's cooperativeness with UN inspectors, and a U.S. intelligence community report stated that the country had dropped nuclear weapons research several years ago. Chertoff described the U.S. report as "widely misunderstood" adding, "anyone, who is suggesting that they [Iranians] have abandoned the nuclear research efforts is wildly optimistic."
A new resolution on further sanctions against Iran was agreed on by the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany January 22. It is expected to expand travel bans and asset freezes.
More stringent sanctions have been blocked by China and Russia, with extensive business interests in Iran, whereas the U.S. has pushed for tough measures to be taken against the Islamic Republic.
Commenting on the new resolution, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday: "Our position is crystal clear. As we have stated before, from our point of view, Iran's nuclear problem is over, but they have made the same mistake again...an ineffective resolution."
Tehran plans to hold tenders for the construction of 19 new nuclear reactors.