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Brussels (AFP) — Six world powers and Iran will hold new talks in New York on September 18, EU officials said Thursday, as efforts intensify toward clinching a nuclear deal ahead of a November deadline.

The talks involving the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany and led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton “will continue in New York as of September 18,” Ashton spokesman Michael Mann said.

An EU source told AFP on condition of anonymity that the talks would be held at the level of political directors.

Mann said the talks in New York, which typically take place on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, would be preceded by similar but smaller groupings of officials in both Geneva and Vienna.

Talks were due to begin Thursday in Geneva between senior U.S. and Iranian officials while he added that France, Britain, and Germany would hold a separate round of talks with Iran at the political directors level on September 11 in Vienna.

Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had had “good discussions” with Ashton in Brussels and Tehran was committed to an accord over its contested nuclear program.

Quoted by the Belga news agency, Zarif said he was “fairly optimistic” after that Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members — Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States — plus Germany could reach a deal by the November deadline.

AFP Photo/Atta Kenare

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