But in a long speech to the Council as it prepared to vote, Mohammad Khazaee, Iranian ambassador to the UN, insisted that Iran would never bow to "unlawful action against a proud and resolute nation."
That statement only confirmed the view held by many Western officials that Iran has not altered its activities as a result of international diplomatic action. "We have the impression nothing has really changed on the goals being pursued [in Iran]" since the first set of sanctions was approved in December 2006, says a senior European diplomat who requested anonymity to comment on a delicate international issue.
That is not the view of Indonesia, however, whose ambassador to the UN, R.M. Marty Natalegawa, said it abstained to express how the resolution did not reflect the "mixed picture" of Iran's cooperation with international agencies. The resolution risks rendering Iran even less cooperative with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he said.
Still, the vote comes amid indications that the UN sanctions, along with separate measures taken by the US, are being felt by Iranian elites. Even Ambassador Khazaee acknowledged an impact in comments to the UN press last week.
"The sanctions are biting somewhat," adds the senior European official, "and they are biting in ways we want them to."