Iran, big power rep may meet next month: Ahmadinejad

NEW YORK Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:03pm EDT

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures as he addresses the 65th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 23, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures as he addresses the 65th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 23, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Iranian official may meet a representative of the major powers next month to discuss Tehran's nuclear standoff with the West, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday.

"According to previous plans, possibly in October, a representative of Iran will meet with one member of the P5+1," Ahmadinejad said in New York, referring to a group consisting of the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

"I think Ms. Ashton, if she contacts Iran's representative, she can set a time for talks," Ahmadinejad said at a news conference. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is the designated representative of the P5+1 for talks with Iran.

Foreign ministers of the six powers told Iran on Wednesday they hope for an early negotiated solution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West believes aims to create an atomic weapon.

For months, Western nations have been urging Iran to return to the negotiating table -- there have been no substantive talks since late last year -- but with little success.

"We hope that by October we will be prepared to resume talks, but we have said what our preconditions are," Ahmadinejad said, without elaborating.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau, Writing by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by Arshad Mohammed and Doina Chiacu)

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