UNITED NATIONS — Western envoys upped the pressure on Iran on Dec. 10, threatening to push for new UN sanctions in early 2010 if the Islamic republic continues to defy demands to halt its uranium enrichment programme.
Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Grant told reporters that discussions of new UN sanctions would start "at the beginning of the new year" if Tehran fails to reassure the world community about the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
His French counterpart Gerard Araud said, "We make a last call to Iran to respond" to Security Council demands. "If Iran does not ... France will present a new resolution of sanctions."
According to U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, "The international community stands firm in its conviction that Iran must comply with its international obligations. Should Iran continue to fail to meet its obligations, the international community will have to consider further actions."
The Western envoys made the remarks after hearing a report from the head of the UN Security Council panel monitoring implementation of a 2007 resolution slapping Iran with an export ban on arms.
The panel gave details of two recent incidents in which vessels carrying arms-related materiel from Iran to Syria were intercepted by UN member states.
"We are facing a pattern of violations by the Islamic republic of Iran," Araud told reporters. "We are now convinced that there is a deliberate attempt by Iran to violate the UN resolutions."
He also pointed out that all efforts by the six major powers (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S.) to coax Tehran into abandoning its nuclear enrichment programme had failed and that the patience of the six powers trying to clip Iran's nuclear ambitions is running out.
"The clock is ticking," Araud said. "We consider the time has come to increase the pressure [on Iran]."