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Six Powers Say Will Invite Iran For Nuclear Talks

LONDON (Reuters) -- Six major powers said on April 8 they would invite Iran for talks to seek a diplomatic solution to the long-running dispute over its nuclear program.

The United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain said in a statement they would ask European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to invite Tehran to a meeting to find "a diplomatic solution to this critical issue."

"We strongly urge Iran to take advantage of this opportunity to engage seriously with all of us in a spirit of mutual respect," the six said after a meeting of senior diplomats in London.

The UN Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Tehran for defying its demand to suspend uranium enrichment.

Iran, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, says its nuclear program is only aimed at generating electricity, though highly enriched uranium could also be used to produce nuclear weapons.

U.S. President Barack Obama has pushed for a "new beginning" in bilateral ties with Iran and the United States is reviewing its policy towards the Islamic state.

Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain "warmly welcome the new direction of U.S. policy towards Iran", the statement said.

They said they were determined to resolve concerns about Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy, in line with a package of financial and diplomatic incentives they offered last year to try to persuade Tehran to give up uranium enrichment.

The six powers reaffirmed their "dual track" strategy which combines tightening sanctions with the prize of economic and political cooperation if Tehran complies.