UPDATE 1-EU's Ashton to host meeting on Iran in Brussels on Nov. 21

Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:46am EST

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BRUSSELS Nov 15 (Reuters) - EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will host a meeting of representatives of six major powers in Brussels on Wednesday, as part of efforts to dissuade Iran from its nuclear programme, a spokeswoman for Ashton said on Thursday.

The talks with the six will be the first since the Nov. 6 re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, which raised hope of a revival of diplomacy after hawkish campaign talk and speculation that Israel might strike Iranian nuclear facilities.

"Ashton will host a meeting of ... political directors in Brussels on 21 November," the spokeswoman said in an email. "This is part of the ongoing ... consultations to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue."

The six powers are the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany. The United States and Israel in particular believe Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons capability. Iran denies this, saying its programme is entirely peaceful.

Obama said on Wednesday he would renew efforts for a diplomatic resolution but that he was not "as of today" planning talks between the United States and Iran.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is expected to submit its next quarterly Iran report to member states on Friday. EU and U.S. sanctions have made it harder for Iran to sell and transport its oil, but Tehran has shown no sign of backing down on the nuclear work.

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