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Iran's foreign minister to meet with Western powers at UN meeting

The EU's foreign policy chief has said Iran’s new foreign minister will join six key nations in stalled negotiations to rein in Tehran's nuclear program. The meeting will take place at the UN General Assembly this week.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, told reporters Monday that after meeting Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, she saw "energy and determination" for talks with the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany to move forward.

Foreign ministers of the six nations are set to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.

The meeting between the six powers and Iran will be the first since April, when discussions on how to reduce fears that Tehran might use its nuclear technology to create weapons stalled at a meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Ashton said she and her team will meet with Zarif again in October to follow up on Thursday's meeting.

"We had a good and constructive discussion," she said. "We didn't talk about the details of what we would do. The purpose of this meeting was to establish how we would go forward."

Iran's new moderate conservative president, Hasan Rouhani, who took office in June, pledged during his election campaign to ease political and social restrictions both inside and outside of Iran, which has sparked speculation about possible movement on the nuclear issue.

Rohani, who is also due to attend the UN General Assembly, told NBC last week that Iran has "never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb, and we are not going to do so."

The UN Security Council has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment and sanctions from the US and its allies have had a crippling effect on Iran's economy.

hc/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP)