This picture, released by the Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, shows an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seal on a piece of equipment at one of Iran's uranium enrichment facilities at the Natanz plant, 320km south of the capital Tehran. Iran has halted its most sensitive uranium enrichment work as part of a landmark deal struck with world powers. Picture: Kazem Ghane, IRNA, and AP

Moscow - Talks between Iran and six world powers on a long-term deal for Tehran to rein in its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief will be held in New York on February 18, a Russian diplomat said on Friday, according to the Interfax news agency.

Six world powers, including the United States and Russia, have led years of negotiations aimed at persuading Iran to curb parts of its nuclear programme, which Western powers fear is aimed at creating atomic weapons capabilities. Iran denies this.

“Agreement has been reached that the next meeting at the level of political directors will take place on February 18 in New York,” Interfax quoted Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Foreign Ministry's security and disarmament department, as saying.

A November 24 interim deal between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany took nearly two months to hammer out in three rounds of talks in Geneva late last year.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Iran is determined to negotiate a comprehensive deal so it can develop its battered economy, inviting Western companies to seize opportunities now.

Under the interim deal, which is valid for six months and can be renewed, Iran agreed to suspend its most sensitive nuclear activity in exchange for a limited easing of Western sanctions that are damaging its oil-reliant economy. - Reuters