Ahmadinejad's bad gamble.....
Announcing that Iran would further enrich uranium may have backfired...
The US said yesterday it would press for the United Nations to agree new sanctions against Iran within "weeks", arguing that Teh-ran's latest moves to drive forward its nuclear programme had alienated key Security Council members.
As Russia expressed concern over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, said Washington would seek agreement on a new UN resolution within "weeks, not months".
China has made clear that it still opposes placing any more pressure on Iran's economy. There were also concerns in western capitals that three of the non-permanent members of the Security Council - Brazil, Turkey and Nigeria - might also be reluctant to back a sanctions resolution.
However, western diplomats believe that President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad's pledge to enrich uranium to 20 per cent purity, which would take Iran's uranium stockpile closer to the level needed to build a nuclear weapon, has backfired and begun to change the mood in the Security Council.
A senior US official told the Financial Times that Mr Ahmadi-Nejad's decision was a "hollow" and "provocative" gesture that would make sanctions more likely.
"I think there is sufficient support in the council for sanctions," said the official. "The Iranians see the Russians clearly moving towards joining us in a sanctions resolution."