The United States warned on Thursday that time was running out for European negotiators to convince Iran to suspend its suspect nuclear activities, after another round of talks ended inconclusively.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Iran had not agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment programme in the discussions between its top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Berlin.
And he reaffirmed that a new deadline for Iranian compliance that was agreed last week among the permanent five UN Security Council members and Germany - the so-called P-5-plus-1 nations - was looming and would not be changed.
"The timeline that was agreed in New York stays, and we are getting short now in terms of that time," he said, referring to the moment when the six nations would seek UN sanctions against Tehran.
The deadline has not been officially revealed by the six nations, which also include Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, but European diplomats involved in the negotiations said it was sometime next week.
"The ball is in their court," McCormack said today of the Iranians.
"Nobody wants to go down the path of sanctions - that is not our first choice," he said.
"But we are prepared, along with the P-5-plus-1, to go down that path if that's the door that the Iranian regime wants to open," he said.