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Iran Agrees to Talks With Major Powers in October


Iran has agreed to start talks with six world powers on global economic and security problems next month - in what would be the first such discussions in more than a year.

A spokeswoman for European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Monday the meeting is set for October 1.

The spokeswoman, Christina Gallach, said the talks are expected to include representatives from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

Iranian media say the country's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili agreed to hold the talks during a phone call Monday with Solana. The meeting location has not been announced.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu says the meeting is an "important first step." He told reporters at an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna Monday that U.S. officials are "hoping for the best."

Last week, the United States and the five other powers - Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - accepted an Iranian offer to hold wide-ranging negotiations.

The Obama administration said it will raise the issue of Iran's nuclear program during the talks, despite Iran's stated refusal to discuss the matter. Western nations accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy program, a charge Tehran denies.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday Iran has an "undeniable" right to possess peaceful nuclear technology and will not negotiate over such a right.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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