ISTANBUL - Iran turned down a request by the United States for a rare bilateral meeting on the sidelines of nuclear talks between the Islamic republic and six world powers in Istanbul on Saturday, the official IRNA news agency said.

There was no comment from US diplomats, whose country has not had direct ties with Tehran for more than three decades.

IRNA's report followed contradictory accounts from two other Iranian news agencies on prospects for a meeting between Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and the head of the US delegation, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.

"The Iranian delegation rejected the request of Wendy Sherman, the representative of the American delegation, for a bilateral meeting," IRNA said.

The semi-official Fars news agency had earlier quoted an "informed source" as denying a report by a third agency, ISNA, that Jalili accepted a request for a meeting with a US envoy.

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