Iran rejects UN ultimatum
Iran has rejected a UN Security Council demand that it halt uranium enrichment to reassure the world that its nuclear programme is peaceful.
Aliasghar Soltaniyeh, Iran's ambassador to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told Reuters: "We will not, definitely, suspend again the enrichment."
Soltaniyeh spoke as six world powers were meeting in Berlin on Thursday to discuss their next steps on Iran, with Russia and China seeking assurances that force would not be used.
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a statement calling on Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment work, which can produce fuel for power plants or atom bombs.
It also asked the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna to report in 30 days on Iranian co-operation with agency demands.
The council statement was the product of three weeks of negotiations among the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council - Britain, France, China, Russia and the US. The final text was softened to remove language Moscow and Beijing feared could lead to punitive measures.
Oil held above $66 a barrel, in sight of its $70 record, after the UN statement.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, said the Berlin talks should show the world speaking with one voice.
"For us it's about having the greatest possible unity in the international community. A similar meeting in London on January 31 achieved important progress," he told the Handelsblatt business daily.