Iran now faces the threat of UN Security Council sanctions after failing to stop work on its nuclear programme.
To push home the country’s international isolation, hundreds of people demonstrated in New York to demand “democratic regime change”.
A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had not respected a UN deadline on its nuclear activities.
John Bolton, US ambassador to the UN, said world powers must now be ready to impose sanctions. He said Russia and China were on board.
“I don’t really think it’s a question of us persuading Russia and China. Russia and China, through their foreign ministers, committed to seeking sanctions when the Permanent Five plus Germany met about two months ago.”
Iran has dismissed the threat of punishment.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad said he would not yield to pressure.
He accuses the US leadership of wanting to resolve issues worldwide through the use of force, war and bombs.
In Europe, meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the international community will have to act.
“If Iran’s political leaders do not accept the incentives we have made, we will have to discuss further steps. We will not close the door but we also cannot behave like nothing happened.”
Merkel will host talks in Berlin on September 7 between the six world powers handling the
stand-off with Iran.