The US believes that Japan and the European trio - Germany, France, and Britain – will provide the base for international rallying outside the Security Council in the case that Russia and China block the sanctions.
Senior US government officials are currently on vacation. President Bush is with his parents in Maine and even Secretary of State Rice is on vacation. US Permanent Representative to the UN, John Bolton is still working and said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that the US intends to present a resolution to the Security Council for the punishment of Iran immediately after the UN ultimatum expires on Thursday.
The most immediate sanctions will be directed at the Iranian administration, and will not, at this stage, hurt the Iranian people. The American proposal will include a prohibition on the Iranian leadership from traveling outside their country, and a freezing of Iranian leadership's assets outside of Iran. This comes on the heels of attempted sanctions on Iraq, which hurt the Iranian people, but not Saddam Hussein.
Bolton sounded optimistic in his interview saying that Russia and China will agree to impose sanctions after they see the suggested version. Bolton clarified that if Russia and China don't agree to sanctions in the Security Council, American diplomacy is already in action to achieve sanctions outside the framework of the UN.
The Los Angeles Times writes that according to US terrorism laws, the US can impose its own sanctions on Iran, and can, for instance, stop ships carrying missiles and material connected to nuclear production on their way to Iran.
"You don't need Security Council authority to impose sanctions, just as we have," Bolton said. "We will continue to enhance Proliferation Security Initiatives to cut off flows of materials and technology that are useful to Iran's ballistic missile program and nuclear programs. We will be constraining financial transactions under existing terrorism laws."
Bolton clarified in the interview that the US would focus efforts to pressure Japanese and European banks to stop doing business with Iran. This is a hint that the US Treasury Department is holding talks with other countries, which Bolton refused to identify. The Treasury Department reported that they are already seeing the fruits of this effort, including a decision by Switzerland's Union Bank to cut off relations with Iran.