Hasan Rohani nuclear
Iranian President Hassan Rohani said he wants to find a diplomatic solution to the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear programme (Reuters) Reuters

Iran has announced its foreign minister is to meet with representatives of Germany and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, to discuss Tehran's nuclear programme.

The announcement comes after President Hassan Rohani said he would like to see the issue settled within three months.

The meeting will bring foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif together with British foreign secretary William Hague and American secretary of state John Kerry - the highest level of direct contact between the US and Iran for several years.

Earlier Rohani said he was willing to reset diplomatic relations with the West, and that finding a quick solution to the standoff would be the first step in such a process.

"Once the nuclear file is settled, we can turn to other issues," Rohani told The Washington Post.

"After resolution of the nuclear issue there are no impossibilities in terms of advancing other things forward.

"The foundation for all this is the confidence that has to be built. That clearly will help everything else. Everything is possible after the settlement."

Rohani was speaking to the paper during a week-long visit to New York, in which he also attended the UN General Assembly.

Iran's economy has been badly affected by economic sanctions imposed by the West to cripple its nuclear aspirations.

Tehran has repeatedly denied that its nuclear programme is designed for anything other than peaceful purposes, but the US, Israel and the EU have long suspected Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

Rohani said he wished a diplomatic solution could be found as soon as possible.

"The only way forward is for a timeline to be inserted into the negotiations that's short - and wrap it up," he said.

"The shorter [the timeframe] is, the more beneficial it is to everyone.

"If it's three months that would be Iran's choice, if it's six months that's still good. It's a question of months not years."

In his address to the UN, US president Barack Obama welcomed the moderate stance taken by his freshly-elected counterpart - but warned words have to be followed by actions.

"We are encouraged that President Rohani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course," Obama told the UN. "[However] conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable."