Six major powers, Iran agree to meet in Geneva next month

UNITED NATIONS Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:09pm EDT

British Foreign Minister William Hague (L). shakes hands with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the beginning of their bilateral meeting at the United Nations in New York September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jason DeCrow/Pool

British Foreign Minister William Hague (L). shakes hands with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the beginning of their bilateral meeting at the United Nations in New York September 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jason DeCrow/Pool

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Six major powers and Iran on Thursday agreed to meet in Geneva next month for further talks on resolving the standoff with Tehran on its nuclear program, the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Thursday.

"We had a discussion about how we would go forward with an ambitious timeframe to see whether we can make progress quickly," Ashton told reporters after a meeting between major powers and Iran.

She described the meeting as substantial and energetic.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York and included Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and counterparts from the United States, France, Russia, China and Germany.

The talks were aimed at jump-starting efforts to resolve a decade-long standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Ashton said the Geneva meeting on October 15-16 would "carry on from today's meeting and hopefully move this process forward."

"We want to spend our time in Geneva translating that into the practical details," said Ashton, adding: "I am very ambitious for what we can do, but we all know we have to be very practical."

Earlier, British Secretary William Hague described the tone and spirit of the meeting as "extremely good."

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Will Dunham)

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