The United States will not ease sanctions on Iran before a third round
of talks between major powers and Iranian officials about Tehran's nuclear program, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.
"As we lay the groundwork for these talks, we will keep up the pressure as part of our dual-track approach. All of our sanctions will remain in place and continue to move forward during this period," she told reporters in Washington hours after talks between Iran
and world powers concluded in Baghdad.
Clinton was guarded in assessing the Baghdad talks, but seemed heartened that the major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - were able to hold two rounds of serious discussions with Iran after more than a year.
"There are clearly gaps on what each side sees as possible and, you know, we think that the choice is now Iran's to work to close the gaps," Clinton said. "It's very clear that there is a lot of work still to do.
"And yet, at the same time, I have to say that this is the second of two serious meetings after a gap of at least 15 months where there was no contact and no discussion about any of these matters," she added.
Meanwhile, a senior State Department official will travel to Tel Aviv on Friday to reaffirm the US commitment to Israel's security following just-concluded talks between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.
Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for political affairs, will discuss bilateral and regional issues with senior Israeli officials during her visit, the State Department said in a statement on Thursday.
Sherman will also "reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel's security," the statement said without mentioning the just-concluded Iran talks in Baghdad.