But while even Russia seems to think that some punishment is inevitable if Iran does not change course, the purpose of sanctions becomes less clear as time passes.
Even if both the Russians and the Chinese agree to tough measures, analysts do not believe they would stop Tehran completing a nuclear device should it wish to do so.
North Korea, an economically far more isolated regime, has managed to test plutonium-based weapons and claims to be on the way to developing a uranium-based one too.
"Sanctions won't really work for two to three years, and that's all they need to become a nuclear power," said Mustafa Alani, a regional specialist at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai.
Far more likely are sanctions which Russia and China approve but water down from American demands enough to avoid doing real damage to Iran, and especially its oil industry.
Iran is China's third largest source of oil, and has done energy deals worth an estimated $100 billion with Beijing in the last five years.
Sun Bigan, a former Chinese ambassador to Iran, even argues in a current strategy that it is in China's interest to prevent the Iranian leadership becoming pro-American.
That could lead to China's oil supplies being drastically curtailed as America, even under President Barack Obama, strove to maintain its "global goals and dominance", he wrote.
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