BRUSSELS, Dec 12 (Reuters) - World powers hope to agree with Iran soon on the possibility of a new round of nuclear talks, in the hope of resolving a long-standing dispute over Tehran's atomic programme and avert the threat of new war in the Middle East.
A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who oversees contacts with Iran on behalf of six countries, said senior EU and Iranian diplomats discussed the timing and venue of new talks on Wednesday.
"Deputy Secretary-General Helga Schmid had a telephone call with (the) Iranian deputy nuclear negotiator... in order to discuss the way ahead, including possible dates and venues for a meeting with Iran," he said.
"We hope that agreement with Iran can soon be reached on how to continue the talks and make concrete progress towards addressing international concerns," he added.
The six countries - Britain, France, Germany, United States, Russia and China - have held three rounds of negotiations with Iranian diplomats this year, but reached no breakthrough.
The powers believe Iran is aiming to reach the capability to build a nuclear weapon, but Tehran denies that and says its work has peaceful aims only.