The world's six major powers would hold direct talks with Iran in a bid to solve the dispute over its nuclear program, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
"The group of six will conduct direct negotiations with Iran," Lavrov said, referring to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council-- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China-- and Germany, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.
At a meeting in Vienna on Thursday, foreign ministers of the six countries reached consensus on a new European package of incentives to get Iran to halt enrichment activities, including an offer to suspend sanctions against it in the Security Council.
The six-party meeting on Iran brought about "a better quality of participation of Russia, the United States and China in the process of negotiations," Lavrov said.
The six countries agreed to rule out the use of force against Teheran and were prepared to act closely in matters concerning the peaceful settlement of the problem, he said.
In a major policy shift, the United States agreed on Wednesday to join the European governments in direct nuclear talks with Iran if Tehran suspended its uranium enrichment activities.
Washington has accused Tehran of secretly working toward developing atomic weapons under a civilian front, a charge denied by Iran, which has insisted that its nuclear program was fully peaceful.