The chattering classes in Washington and Europe have been quiet of late regarding Iran, particularly in light of the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq - save for the 50,000 or so that remain. But in light of the new sanctions imposed, what is being planned in response to the continued intransigence of the Iranian government? Frankly, anyone outside the White House, Pentagon and CIA who says they know, doesn't.
The US foreign policy of force first, talking later, has produced a profound imbalance in the Middle East. Bush dismantled Iraq - the only power capable of presenting a problem to Tehran. The hand wringing over potential Iranian nuclear capability and the threat to Israel remains in full view and is dutifully reported by a compliant media, particularly in the US. That is not the problem.
The media conveniently forgets that Iran has a significant, well trained military force capable of stirring the pot in the region. The country that is most concerned is not Israel. It is Saudi Arabia. And it is about oil. Iran's trump card is not nuclear, it is messing about in the Persian Gulf. So, aside from the fact that even a nuclear armed Iran would not pose a threat to the US, disrupting oil supplies would.
Let's assume that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon next Saturday. If an attack were launched to destroy all its nuclear facilities, and succeeded (far from a certainty) - so what? The loss would be annoying for Iran, but still would leave it capable of disrupting oil flows, destabilizing Iraq completely and interfering with activities of NATO in Afghanistan. This is not a nice scenario and which is why I dismiss all the talk about bombing Iran and taking out its nuclear facilities.
Sanctions are ineffective and bombing would collapse the economies of the world as oil vanished from the Persian Gulf. Time to find a different way to get the attention of Tehran in a way that makes it reconsider its policies.