Tehran: Efforts to find a diplomatic solution to Iran's disputed nuclear program appeared to get a boost when world powers agreed to a new round of talks with Tehran, and Iran gave permission for inspectors to visit a site suspected of secret atomic work.

The two developments appeared to counter somewhat the crisis atmosphere over Iran's nuclear program, the focus of talks in Washington between President Barack Obama and Israel's visiting prime minister.

Speaking at his first news conference this year, Obama said he saw a "window of opportunity" to use diplomacy instead of military force to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. Obama also reiterated that his policy on Iran is not one of containment, but of stopping Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The US and its allies say Iran is on a path that could eventually lead to the production of a nuclear weapon. Iran denies that, insisting that its program is for energy production and other peaceful purposes.

EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton said the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany agreed to a new round of nuclear talks with Iran more than a year after suspending them in frustration. Previous talks have not achieved what the powers want an end to uranium enrichment on Iranian soil.

Ashton said in a statement that the EU hopes Iran "will now enter into a sustained process of constructive dialogue which will deliver real progress in resolving the international community's long-standing concerns on its nuclear program."

The time and venue of the new talks have not been set.

In Washington, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said Iran must comply with UN Security Council resolutions and stop uranium enrichment.

"We still believe diplomacy coupled with strong pressure can achieve the long-term solution we seek," he said in a statement.

Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague, said in a statement that the onus would "be on Iran to convince the international community that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful."

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called for a diplomatic solution. "A nuclear armed Iran must be prevented," he said.