Washington (CNN) - Several top Obama administration officials Wednesday vowed that new United Nations sanctions against Iran are just one in a series of three punches that the United States and its allies will deliver against Tehran's nuclear program in coming weeks.
The officials candidly admitted in private that despite all of the public celebration at the White House about "tough" sanctions getting pushed through the U.N. earlier Wednesday, those sanctions alone would not be
sufficient to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions.
But the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private diplomatic relations, said the point is that the U.N. sanctions are just a predicate to lead to even tougher unilateral sanctions by
both the United States and various European Union nations in coming weeks.
"You have a one-two-three punch," one of the senior Obama officials said of the combination of U.S., European and U.N. sanctions in the works for this summer.
The officials, who were trying to counter skepticism that a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran will make a difference, added that the scrambling that Iran did in recent days to head off new sanctions shows that Tehran fears these penalties will finally have teeth.
The president vowed in public remarks Wednesday that the U.N. sanctions will be a strong start to putting heavy pressure on Iran.
"Today the United Nations Security Council voted overwhelmingly to sanction Iran for its continued failure to live up to its obligations," said Obama. "This resolution will put in place the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government, and it sends an unmistakable message about the international community's commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons."