US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely
The Guardian (UK) / Chris McGreal
17-Feb-2012 (one comment)

Officials in key parts of the Obama administration are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme, and believe that the US will be left with no option but to launch an attack on Iran or watch Israel do so...

The president has made clear in public, and in private to Israel, that he is determined to give sufficient time for recent measures, such as the financial blockade and the looming European oil embargo, to bite deeper into Iran's already battered economy before retreating from its principal strategy to pressure Tehran.....

But there is a strong current of opinion within the administration – including in the Pentagon and the state department – that believes sanctions are doomed to fail, and that their principal use now is in delaying Israeli military action, as well as reassuring Europe that an attack will only come after other means have been tested.....


Loose-cannon = No choice?

by FG on

Note that a related Guardian story suggests September/October as the sweet spot.   On the "optimistic" side there have been indications that Iran may be willing to negotiate on the nuclear issue.  I have reservations either way.

In event of an attack, one concern is that the regime may be able to exploit Iranian nationalism for domestic purposes.   You do this, as Putin does, by encouraging people to confuse the regime with the nation.   It's not as if Iran were a normal state that behaves normally, otherwise I think folks would be less concerned except for the possibility of encouraging a regional nuclear race.   Ever since 1979 the IRI has engaged in outlaw behavior, including covert schemes against neighnbors--not just Israel.    

As for recent terror attempts elsewhere, the regime's behavior can't be excused simply on the grounds of Israel's probable role in attacking nuclear scientists.   Hasn't Iran vowed "death to Israel for 33 years?  Hasn't it engaged in numerous terror schemes, including a synagogue bombing in Argentina.  Imagine if Israel had attacked mosques.   Aside from all that, planning bombings or assassinations (the Saudi Ambassador) in other nations (India, Thailand) in ways that would kill many non-Israel passerbys is outlaw behavior.  

It's not Iran that can't be trusted with nukes, it is the Iranian Republic, stomper of its own people.  

As for the other possbity--that Iran will pull a last-minute compromise--I have mixed feelings.  Sanctions are too linked to nukes.   Where will a nuclear settlement leave the Iranian people if persisting in sanctions might otherwise have brought down the regime by drawing off key conservatives and businssmen faced with bankrupcy.