With signs multiplying that international pressure is having an impact on Iran, the United Nations Security Council is moving toward adoption of a second resolution of sanctions targeting the country's nuclear program.
A vote could come early next week on a resolution that adds an arms-export embargo and more financial measures to sanctions adopted in December.
World powers led by the United States and Europe want to stop Iran from mastering the process that would allow it to build a nuclear weapon, although Tehran insists its nuclear program is limited to civilian uses and the peaceful production of energy.
While the international pressure shows no signs so far of deterring Iran's pursuit of highly enriched uranium, it is having an impact in the country – as some politicians, members of the business community, and others cast doubt on Iran's course. Backers of the sanctions hope that these internal doubts will eventually lead the Iranian leadership to return to the negotiating table.
"All you have to do is review the Iranian press to see the debate the sanctions have caused and the controversy over this growing sense of isolation the country is feeling," says Daniel Brumberg, an Iran expert at Georgetown University in Washington. "It's not just the reformists who are worried about this. It's apparent among sectors of the leadership as well."
The new resolution adds to a list of named individuals and companies whose assets will be frozen because of association with Iran's nuclear program. The resolution would also direct the UN's 192 member states to keep watch for any of the listed individuals traveling to their territory, according to UN officials.