BRUSSELS - World powers and Iran will verylikely resume negotiations on the Islamic Republic's nuclearambitions in February, shortly after an interim, six-month dealrestricting its atomic work goes into effect, a diplomaticsource told Reuters on Monday.
The goal of the new round of talks is to find a broadsettlement in the decade-old dispute over Iran's nuclearprogram and ease the risk of mistrust leading to deepertensions or even conflict in the Middle East.
The diplomatic source said the first meeting between Iranand six powers - the United States, Russia, China, France,Britain and Germany - would include Iranian Foreign MinisterMohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief CatherineAshton.
"It won't happen in January, because of the Chinese NewYear, but it is very, very, very likely in February," the sourcesaid, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Senior diplomats from the seven countries, led by the EU,will hold talks ahead of the meeting to prepare an agenda.
Iran says its atomic energy program is aimed purely atelectricity generation and other civilian purposes, althoughpast Iranian attempts to hide sensitive nuclear activity fromUN non-proliferation inspectors raised concerns.