Iran, Qatar and Russia agreed on Tuesday to create a new forum for joint projects but stopped short of advocating an OPEC-style organization. The three countries sit on the world's largest known gas reserves.
Mehdi Karoubi, a reformist Iranian religious leader, has announced he will run in next year's presidential election,
challenging conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is widely expected to seek a second four-year term.
In an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz during his two-day Mideast tour, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned that Israel would not wait for Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon before striking its arch-enemy.
In a new resolution approved on Saturday the UN Security Council urged Iran to meet IAEA requirements to halt any uranium enrichment programmes. But the Council rejected Washington's pressure for a new round of sanctions.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, agreed after a meeting Wednesday that their cooperation was necessary to take action on Iran's and North Korea's nuclear programmes.
A meeting of world powers on further sanctions against Iran has been cancelled due to opposition from Russia, said US and Russian officials Tuesday, even as Iran's Ahmadinejad said they would continue nuclear enrichment in a UN speech.