Pressure is mounting on Iran following its announcement that it is stepping up its programme of nuclear enrichment.
Only China, which is among the group of nations trying to nudge Iran into talks on the future of its nuclear programme, is still refusing the idea of tougher sanctions against the Islamic republic.
Israel is not involved in the talks, but its prime minister has made it clear where his country stands. Benjamin Netanyahu says the time for treating Tehran with kid gloves is over.
He said: “The international community must decide if it is serious about neutralising this threat to Israel, the region and the entire world. I believe that what is required right now is tough action from the international community.”
Netanyahu said the situation called for “crippling” sanctions against Iran. Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle does not go that far, but he recognises things have to change.
“If Iran remains unwilling to negotiate, then talks at the United Nations cannot be avoided, and we’ll have to discuss new measures, and those include the widening of sanctions,” he said.
On cue there were demonstrations outside the French and Italian embassies in Tehran. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been taking a particularly hard line against Iran, and it seems Russia is moving towards the West’s position, although as Moscow remains a key nuclear partner, building a reactor, there were no protests outside its embassy.