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'It's Your Fault': U.S. Gets the Israel Treatment Over Iran

“We’ve added a military dimension to our policy… and to efforts to ratchet up the pressure… which didn’t exist before,” opined Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “This is the most scared I have been about the potential for military action between the U.S. and Iran since I started following country,” added the Atlantic Council’s Barbara Slavin.

No, it’s not all America’s fault; the Iranians are partly responsible.

Riedel denounced “saber rattling from Tehran to South Carolina,” but the Republican presidential candidates concerned him perhaps more than Mr. Velyati. “If you’ve watched the debates so far this year, you’ve seen a lot of saber rattling,” he said. Rejecting the possibility that a military strike against Iran might have its intended effect, Riedel predicted that the U.S. and Israel would be called aggressors, and didn’t disagree with the characterization. “We will have initiated a military action and we will have started a war. We have drifted so easily into war twice in the last decade. Let’s not make that mistake again.”

Israel was a dog on a short leash for Eisenstadt: “2012 is likely the year of decision for Israel on this issue. … From their point of view, they look at this and say that time may no longer be working in their favor, and they may be reaching a point in which deferring military action means forgoing military action altogether.”

After years of haggling and struggling, the United States, Western Europe, and their allies including Japan and others have finally come close to organizing serious sanctions against the regime in Tehran. It may be “too little, too late,” but if the Iranians would just abandon their secret nuclear programs and stop threatening Israel and the rest of the world, the sanctions backed by “all options” wouldn’t be necessary.

If they won’t, they -- not we -- are responsible for any ensuing “ratcheting.”