DUBAI - A meeting between Iran's top diplomats and world powers at the United Nations this week will start a "new era" in efforts to end the dispute with the West over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, the Iranian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
It did not hint at any concessions by Tehran.
The European Union said on Monday Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif would join a meeting of major powers - including Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States and Germany - to discuss the Iranian nuclear program.
The meeting, due on Thursday and expected to include US Secretary of State John Kerry, would be the highest-level encounter involving the two nations since relations were severed in 1980 at the height of the US embassy hostage crisis.
"These talks are the start of a new era. The Islamic Republic has explicitly stated its views regarding its rights to peaceful nuclear energy and the right to enrich (uranium) on Iranian territory," foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told a news conference, Mehr news agency reported.
"This meeting represents a serious commitment of the foreign parties to reach a solution based on a specified time-frame."