Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday welcomed the US offer of direct talks with Iran and cautioned that it would be premature to speak of sanctions against Teheran. "This is a very important step, which gives the whole process a new dimension," Putin told foreign media executives. "We are against the use of force in any circumstances," Putin said. "As for sanctions, it is too early to talk about that yet. It is necessary to conduct a thorough discussion with the Iranian leadership."