The United States on Monday vowed not to ease its sanctions on Iran despite it regards the Iranian nuclear talks held in Istanbul as a "good, positive" first step, while renewing its call for Tehran to take concrete steps to address concerns over its disputed nuclear program.
"We said that we want to see Iran come up with some concrete proposals moving forward and that if that were to happen, we would look at ways ... to reciprocate. But we view this as a good, positive initial first step," U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a daily news briefing.
Despite the positive start, the spokesman denied that the U.S. will ease the sanctions on Iran. "Sanctions remain in place ... no one's talking about any sanctions being reversed or canceled at all," he said.
The U.S. expected the Istanbul talks to be the beginning of "a sustained process," and is already looking to a second meeting scheduled to be held next month in Baghdad, Iraq, Toner said.
Iran and five UN Security Council permanent members -- the United States, France, Russia, China, and Britain -- plus Germany (P5+1) concluded on Saturday the talks on the Iranian nuclear program in Istanbul, Turkey, with both sides describing the talks as positive and agreeing to meet again in Baghdad on May 23.
Toner said that the U.S. has made it clear that its ultimate goal is to have Iran "take concrete steps that obviously address the international community's concerns about its nuclear program."
Referring to the U.S.-led crippling international sanctions imposed on Iran, Toner said that he believed that Iran has "every motivation to engage obstructively and come to the table with concrete proposals."
Despite Tehran's insistence that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes, the U.S-led Western nations suspect that Iran is in fact attempting to develop nuclear weapons and has threatened to use forces to prevent Tehran from crossing the nuclear threshold.
While acknowledging that the negotiating process will take some time, Toner stressed the urgency of resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis through peaceful talks.
Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "have been very clear, you know, that there's still time for diplomacy but there is an urgency here," Toner noted.
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