ISTANBUL - Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Wednesday he had a "fruitful" meeting in Istanbul with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and voiced hope it would help resolve the standoff with the West.

"We had fruitful talks with Lady Ashton last night," Saeed Jalili told a news conference in Istanbul a day after talks with Ashton, who is representing the P5+1 - the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany.

"We hope our talks last night will contribute to an ongoing process for better understanding," he said.

Tuesday's meeting on the long-running row over Iran's contested nuclear drive, held behind closed doors at the Iranian consulate in Istanbul, marked the first direct talks since June.

In Brussels, Ashton's office said she aimed to meet with world powers in the coming days "in order to assess the situation and to discuss the way forward".

The foreign ministers of the P5+1 are due in New York for the UN General Assembly going into a "ministerial week" due to begin formally on September 24 and Ashton plans to meet them in a bid to get stop-start international diplomacy over Tehran's atomic programme moving again. Jalili said Tehran would wait for the results of the P5+1 evaluation after their meeting with Ashton.

Turkey has twice been the venue of meetings on the nuclear standoff since the last negotiation process started earlier this year, with a major meeting held in April and a lower-level gathering in late July.

The P5+1 and Iran made no breakthroughs in the last round of talks in Moscow in June.

World powers have asked Iran to immediately stop enriching uranium because of fears Tehran might be developing nuclear weapons, and imposed a number of sets of sanctions.

But Iran rejects the allegations, saying its nuclear programme is peaceful, designed for energy and development purposes only.