December 28th, 2011
05:49 PM ET

Parsi: Without renewed diplomacy, war with Iran lies around the corner

Editor's Note: Trita Parsi is the author of the newly released book A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press, 2012).

By Trita Parsi - Special to CNN

Iran’s warning that it will close the Straits of Hormuz if an oil embargo is imposed on it has sent oil prices soaring and raised fears that yet another war in the Middle East may be in the making. These fears are not unfounded, particularly if diplomacy continues to be treated as a slogan rather than as a serious policy option.

“Not even a drop of oil will flow through the Persian Gulf,” Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned, according to the state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Washington quickly dismissed the threat as mere bluster. But energy markets react not just to the credibility of threats and warnings, but on the general level of tensions.

While Iran is unlikely to act on its warning in the short term - closing the Straits would after all also choke of Iran’s own ability export oil and potentially pit it against Russia and China - these threatening statements do fill one important function: They cause oil prices to rise due to the increased risk premium. Higher oil prices are good for Iran but bad for the U.S. and the European Union. The euro is already risking collapse and the Obama administration cannot afford higher gas prices (and the negative impact that will have on job creation) in an election year.

It is likely to get worse. As the Obama administration - pushed by domestic political forces - continues to ratchet up pressure on Iran in the elusive hope that the government in Tehran will cry uncle and give up its nuclear program, the Iranians will respond to escalation with escalation.

If the name of the game is to harm the other side, then both countries can clearly play this game.

Initially, threats of closing the Straits of Hormuz were made by mid-ranking members of the Iranian parliament. Now Vice Presidents in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet make them. If the current trajectory remains, we will likely see more senior Iranian government figures make even more specific warnings with even greater frequency.

Along side the heightened rhetoric, we will likely see more Iranian military exercises in the Persian Gulf, potential provocations between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps navy and EU and U.S. navies by heightening the level of “testing the other side,” perhaps even “intentional accidents” at strategic targets throughout the region. These measures will at a minimum help push the risk premium of oil to even higher levels.

Even more aggressive measures will likely be pursued by Iran in the next phase of this standoff with the West.

Such is the logic of pressure politics - pressure begets pressure and along the way, both sides increasingly lose sight of their original endgames. As this conflict-dynamic takes over, the psychological cost of restraint rises, while further escalatory steps appear increasingly logical and justified. At some point - and we may already be there - the governments will no longer control the dynamics. Rather, the conflict dynamic will control the governments.

Though neither side may have intended to drive this towards open war, but rather to merely deter the other side or compel it to change its policies, pressure politics in the absence of real diplomacy has a logic of its own. This formula simply drives us towards confrontation, whether we intend it or not.

But all hope is not lost. Contrary to common perceptions, diplomacy has not been exhausted. In fact, it didn’t even fail - it was prematurely abandoned. As I describe in A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran, Barack Obama’s political maneuverability for diplomacy with Iran was limited - and whatever political space he had, it was quickly eaten up by pressure from Congress, Israel, Saudi Arabia and most importantly, by the actions of the Iranian government itself in the fraudulent 2009 elections.

By the time diplomacy could be tried in October 2009, Obama’s political maneuverability had become so limited that its entire Iran policy - in the words of a senior Obama administration official - had become “a gamble on a single roll of the dice.” It either had to work right away, or not at all. And diplomacy rarely works instantaneously.

The Iranians did not come to a "yes," as Obama had hoped, during the October talks. Only weeks later, the Obama administration activated the pressure track and abandoned diplomacy in all but name. Ironically, Brazil and Turkey managed through their diplomacy to get Iran to a "yes" only six months later. But by that time, Obama had committed himself to sanctions and the pressure track. Between a sanctions resolution at the United Nations and a diplomatic breakthrough based on the benchmarks of the original October deal, Obama rejected the diplomatic opening and opted for sanctions and pressure politics.

Diplomacy cannot work under such constrained circumstances. It needs time, patience, perseverance and a clear understanding that the cost of abandoning diplomacy is greater than the cost of sustaining it - because of the catastrophic repercussions of the military confrontation that will follow collapsed talks. While this might have escaped decision makers in Washington and Tehran earlier, there should be little doubt about its veracity today.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Trita Parsi.

Post by:
Topics: Foreign Policy • Iran • United States

soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. George Patton

    The very last thing we need right now is a senseless war with Iran. Back in 2008, Barack Obama promised to engage the Iranians but then renegged after he got the Presidency. Another promise that was never kept!

    December 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      I have some news for you... In order for the "engagement" to be successful or even possible BOTH sides must be willing to participate.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States should start today to build pipelines or rails and have the oil transported to Oman. Sooner or later they will have to find another route than passing the Strait of Hormuz. If they go ahead now, they will have no difficulties in employing hundreds of thousands of workers from America, Asia and Europe to work day and night.

        December 29, 2011 at 4:26 am |
      • Emad Irani

        Mr. Tarita Parsi has always protected IRI's interest. So, I say: "Yes two parties must be willing to negotiate:.

        December 29, 2011 at 7:06 am |
      • Dev

        ......And the US is not willing to enagage. It is only willing to dictate and bully!!!

        December 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
      • NonZionist

        The attack on Iraq cost us 4,500 American lives and over a trillion dollars. A million Iraqi lives were lost. And all of this death and destruction was the product of lies that we Americans were too lazy or too frightened to question. Now we're ready to do it all over again, only on a far bigger scale.

        "Iranian Nukes" are no more real than "Iraqi WMDs". Iran relies on asymmetric defense and has repeatedly called for the region to become a nuclear-FREE zone. Iran has offered numerous conciliatory proposals that address nuclear concerns, most of which are instantly dismissed by the U.S. and Israel. At one point, the U.S. was forced to reject its own proposal, when Iran agreed to it. At another point, Iran accepted a proposal by Brazil and Turkey and the U.S. torpedoed it.

        Ahmadinejad argues that nukes are useless - they didn't save the Soviet Union from collapse, and they didn't save Israel from defeat in 2006 in Lebanon. Khamenei has repeatedly condemned the stockpiling, development and use of nukes as a sin against Islam.

        Iran hasn't attacked anyone in 300 years. To those who profit from war and live by "Might Makes Right", the behavior of Iran's government must indeed seem insane. To people addicted to war, ignorance and hatred, Ahmadinejad's calls for peace and dialogue must seem mad.

        "Iran is ready to help creation of dialogue atmosphere between governments and nations." - Ahmadinejad

        December 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • OldCactus

      George, the very last thing we need is for Iran to get the bomb. I cannot comprehend how people like you does not understand that mutual assured destruction doesn't work with people who strap bombs to their body and commit suicide just to kill someone else. If they get the bomb they will use it. A war with Iran now before they gey the bomb is a million times more welcome than one after they get the bomb. One of our biggest problems is that people with your mental capacity are still allowed to vote.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Reply
      • nonsence

        Hey frog! Just keep your ass in your home country. The world can perform much better wothour America. Believe me)))

        December 29, 2011 at 12:16 am |
      • Cocopuf

        I couldn't agree with you more. Iran simply cannot be allowed to be nuclear capable with this type of regime. So, when there will be a conflict with Iran, I hope that we don't have to have many boots on the ground there ... (period)

        December 29, 2011 at 1:06 am |
      • RS

        You clearly do not know the difference between Iran and Iraq. Iran doesn't have suicidal terrorism. It's that simple.

        December 29, 2011 at 1:17 am |
      • MythBuster

        The Oldcactus is getting senile and others like him are drinking up that cheep propaganda, It's not about nukes, where the beef dude show me the money, do you believe everything you hear! These bloody wars are more about racism and religion than anything else! Sober up man!

        December 29, 2011 at 1:24 am |
      • Joe

        RS – Iran are Shia Muslims (like Hizzballa) they actually invented the suicide bombers. Don't BS us, you may think we are stupid but we knows better...

        December 29, 2011 at 2:07 am |
      • European

        No, the problem is people with 'your' mental capacity can vote in US!

        My no means, Iran will start a war with US or the West. They are not the country which is fueling terrorism or acting as an oppressor. They only have problem with Israel, but that is none of our business. Moreover, Israel already has nuclear bloody bombs, so telling Iran to restrain from using nuclear energy is hypocrisy at it's best!

        December 29, 2011 at 2:09 am |
      • j. von hettlingen

        @OldCactus, talking about a "war with Iran now before they gey the bomb", if boots are put on the ground, are you willing to go and fight? Belligerents are those who prefer to risk OTHER PEOPLE'S lives than their own. It's just like the Al Qeada commanders who recruit suicide bombers, as they will never carry out these attacks themselves. Iran can afford to go to war, because the lives of their citizens are worthless. The U.S. is a different country, I hope.

        December 29, 2011 at 4:14 am |
      • norman

        OldCactus,People like you are why I had to leave the US. Way too many idiots. War is for idiots. Go to it. The world could use a few less of people like you who don't just vote, but procreate. But, you're probably a paid troll......

        December 29, 2011 at 5:45 am |
      • COBRA

        JEWMERICA HAS nuclear weapons and has used them , Iran has never attacked or invaded any country , the problem is that JEWMERICA doesn't want Iran to have them cos it will not be abble to play games with Iran anymore, Will not be able to kill muslims whenever they wish ! Israel the biggest terrorist country in the world has plenty of nuclear weapons and nobody says anything about them , I PRAY DAY AND NIGHT SO IRAN CAN GET NUCLEAR

        December 29, 2011 at 6:36 am |
      • clearick

        The entire conflict is because the entire World doesn't want Iran to have nuclear capability! The UN imposed sanctions, not the US!

        This is all up to Iran, either they stop or there will be war. IT's THAT SIMPLE.

        December 29, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • Dev

        You really must be old and brainwashed ,Cactus!!! Iran has never attacked any country in the world in its history!! It has been attacked by Iraq with US backing. So what nonsense are you talking about? Instaed of being brainwashed ,go travel around the world and see what people think of the US- a warmongering nation who has attacked weaker nations such as Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya etc. The world is getting tire of bullies and gullible brainwashed Americans!!

        December 29, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • citizenmn

      Obama offered the Islamic regime a more productive relationship. They declined due to their ingrained hostility towards the US and their campaign to oppress the revolt against their rigged election. Obama didn't renege on anything.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Reply
      • European

        Iran's 'hostility' towards the US? Show me just one example, if you can!

        It's US which is hostile to any other country which does not bow to her. It's US which is hostile to Iran, putting sanctions against them, threatening them with war!

        Being a American/European or a Christian doesn't mean that we have to be stupid, though there are some like you.

        December 29, 2011 at 2:13 am |
      • walkergw

        Hmmm, when was the last time we saw US flag burning and Death to America signs? Oh yeah last week. No there is no hatred towards the US, none at all.

        December 29, 2011 at 5:38 am |
      • Thinker23

        European... Mass demonstrations chanting "Death to America" is a sign of love, I suppose... And if you believe that Iran does not support suicide bombers read something about Hezbollah. You will be surprised.

        December 29, 2011 at 5:56 am |
      • walkergw

        There is a lot to think about wth this. At what point would Iran actually attempt to block the strait? If they did that, the US would be forced to remove the blockade. This in and of itself would not likely escalate to war, right away anyway. However, the black eye Iran would get from it would have to be relieved somehow. Perhaps an attack on Isreal? Which of course would have to retaliated against. Starting with pinpoint strikes on military targets. Which of course will go awry or be made to look that way (doesnt really matter which, they are basically the same, it matters what more what people believe than what really happens). Russia and China will demand the strikes to end while clandestinely aiding Iran with weapons and monetary aid. I still am not getting to WWIII. That would only happen if somehow the US and Europe put sanctions on China. And I can not see that scenario growing out of this.

        So where does all this leave us? Are there alternatives to this? Can diplomacy work after threats, or does that beget threats as a means of negotiations?

        I hate to admit it, but the truth lies elswhere. We need to leave Afghanistan and Pakistan to their own downward spirals. Chock it up to Bush's blunders. Wait 10 to 15 years when we will have to smack Al Queda down again. Let Pakistan swirl in their toxic terrorism they sponsered until they see that rabid dogs bite the hand that feed them just as easily as they do those you sick them on. When the Pakisatani people have enough they will either take care of the refuse they created or ask for help. They can not be helped before then.

        How is this tied together you might ask. The truth is that we have given Iran the big bone and they are chomping on it. It is time we take it back. However, should we allow them to build their nukes so we can avert a conflict with them? Why not? Lets just wait until they have a nuke to use against us! That was sarcasm for anyone who doesnt get it. This is not Russia or China which act like big dogs and know that biting is dangerous both ways, this is a little Chiuaua. Not enough brains and too much bravado to keep from biting.

        So what is the US to do about it? All politicians should talk down the situation;
        Reporter: "What is to be done about Irans threats?"
        Politician: "I wouldnt worry about it, Iran isnt dumb enough to do something they know would force us react."
        Reporter: "But what if they follow through with those threats."
        Politician: "Well, a blockade would not be tolerated, but I really dont think we have to worry about that."

        In the meantime, delegations should be sent from Russia to see if there is not a diplomatic solution to get them to earnestly give up their intentions of building nukes. I highly doubt it will work, but it does need to be tried.

        Also whenever sanctions are mentioned, the US should make statements such as "We hate to levy the sanctions. Sanctions are the result of stalled negotiations. The only true solution can come from negotiations, not by force in any shape."

        These are our best hopes of actually seeing Iran move away from its plan to obtain nukes which I remind everyone they themselves have promised not to do by signing the Nonproliferations Treaty. How can we trust someone to not use a weapon that they lie to obtain? If they withdraw from the treaty such as Pakistan and India did, then they can argue it is their right to persue them wether we like it or not. Doesnt mean we should still not try to persuade them otherwise, but we would loose a lot of momentum on that front. Even sanctions would be out of the question under those conditions.

        December 29, 2011 at 6:28 am |
      • Russ

        Well european the hostile acts by Iran toward the US started when Iran seized the US embassy in Tehran and held the staff hostage for 444 days. Iran supported the terrorist group Islamic Jihad which blew up the US embassy in Beirut and US Marine Barracks in 1983 killing hundreds of Americans. Iran mined the Persian Gulf while US naval ships escorted tankers. During the Vincennes incident the ship was responding to a help call from another US naval ship that was being attacked by Iranian naval vessels and the ship came under attack from other Iranian naval vessels which led to the airbus tragedy. Iran's Quod's force armed the Mahdi militia in Iraq which is Shia with arms and explosives and killed American soldiers. Iranian merchantmariners can be seen firing machine guns on a low flying US B1 bomber. This is on You Tube. Iran's Revolutionary Guard constantly harass US naval ships with small boats in the Gulf also. With the bombing of the USS Cole in the back of their heads; the captains of these ships show great restraint. This can be seen on YOU TUBE also. Shall I continue?

        December 29, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Nisroc

      It is not like the US needs this now anyway for a variety of reasons.

      1. The US is already hated by more countries in the world than Iran is.
      2. Civilians do not like USA based on their actions for the last ten years. I'm talking civilians from all around the world. USA Idea of peace is pick up the gun and push. Running around acting big is making USA looks like a big joke. Time to repair your reputation.
      3. The US economy is still in fail.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:54 am | Reply
      • Thinker23

        If you believe that it's up to the US to decide if Iran will acquire nuclear weapons and thus trigger a war in the Middle East you're badly mistaken. If you think that ignoring a war will make the war disappear you're mistaken even more.

        December 29, 2011 at 6:01 am |
      • clearick

        The US doesn't care about it's reputation, and in this case it is not the US but the entire world that is against Iran. Iran is not going to be allowed to develop Nukes, if they continue to try, the sanctions will go into effect and if Iran tries to block the straight, the World will go to war with Iran. A simple truth- the US doesn't need the rest of the world, it can supply it's people with everything. Much of what the US does overseas is at the expense of average Americans, just like what Iran does hurts most of it's citizens.

        December 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Gerry

      It would not be a war and it would not be sensless. We can degrade the Iranians by the use of intense bombing and obtain temporary, local superiority for specific tasks, paobably with Isrealib forces, whom we need to bring on board and form closer ties. The nuclear programme can be set back many yaers and her economy crippled. Talking to these people in order to make them obey international law would, on the other hand, be the very definition of sensless.

      December 29, 2011 at 4:15 am | Reply
    • Eisenhawer

      with security of our only ally Israel at stake and to keep the economy dependent on military/industrial complex on the move.

      it is essential that we must think of starting a new war, Iran and Pakistan are good targets with right use of Al Qaeda threat we can keep everything going our way for next 10 years

      December 29, 2011 at 6:08 am | Reply
      • thomas

        Israel is no ally, it is a rogue terrorist state, trying to drag the USA into a nuclear war! It is Israel that is constantly threatening – and attacking – its neighbors, not Iran.

        December 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
      • Dev

        Sure you can attack Iran and Pakistan because they are weaker and smaller nations but be very careful, Pakistan"s General's will not wait a second and release their nuclear artillery on US troops in Afgahnistan/ Bahrain, Israel, etc. Millions will be dead before you know it and when the body bags start arrining in the US , all hell will break loose. You are just a guillible brainwashed American who is clueless!

        December 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • thomas

      You actually believed Obama? I've been around long enough to know there really isn't any difference between the GOP and DNC. They are both identical twins, they are just good at wearing disguises.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • frank huntington

      insanity -totally disconnected from reality diplomacy with a country that makes approved military
      style attacks on diplomats

      December 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Reply
    • Goal

      What are Iran's ambitions? What are America's ambitions?

      To be the dominant regional power in the Middle East? Is that it?

      Is it the Iranians that cannot be trusted with Nuclear weapons ?

      January 2, 2012 at 2:17 am | Reply
    • stryker12

      Forget war lets just bomb them into dust and take the oil. It seems like a lot less trouble.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  2. aroth

    So we go to war over high gas prices? Lovely.

    When did the U.S. become such an amoral cesspool that it thinks that gas prices are worth killing people over?

    December 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Reply
    • OldCactus

      Nut jobs like yourself that can't grasp the real world situation is causing the destruction of this country. This is not about oil or gasoline you nut job. It is about sanctioning Iran to get them to give up their quest for the bomb. Can't you get that through your thick skull.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Reply
      • reddfrog

        I don't get it, why is the USA allowed to keep thousands of nukes while threatening war with countries who tries to develop their own nukes? Hypocrisy much?

        December 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
      • Cocopuf

        To redfrog :- There is no hypocrisy here. Iran is bent on producing a nuclear capability ... and for what? To destabilize the region and start an arms race? So, get ur head out of ur orifice and look ahead a little. The Saudis and other neighboring Arab countries agree in silence. Had there been a less hostile regime in Iran, there would likely not have been such a reaction. Yes, the Us, Russia, and a few others have nuclear capability but they don't go around shouting with their big mouths and threatening other like Iran fas been doing.

        December 29, 2011 at 1:18 am |
      • Joe

        Redfrog – this is because if Iran will have nuclear wepon, 911 would look like a small robery compared to the next terror event in the US (pick your city – NY, LA, Chicago....)

        December 29, 2011 at 2:13 am |
      • Victor N

        reddfrog, are you really asking that? It's because US and others have enough brain to have it and keep it for themselves. Or have it and have enough brain to think about the consequences if they use it.
        If someone like you would allow them to have nukes under the knowledge that they threatened to wipe out another country, how would you feel about your safety? What if you were a neighbor of Iran, would you sleep well at night knowing they could anytime nuke you out?

        December 29, 2011 at 4:06 am |
      • aroth

        Whatever. Can you prove that the intent of Iran's nuclear problem is to produce a nuclear weapon? No? Didn't think so. And can you prove that they would actually use one even if they had one (keep in mind that rhetorical statements made by people like Ahmadinejad don't count as proof of anything)? Didn't think so, again.

        This isn't Minority Report. There is no pre-crime. You can't condemn a nation for building or using nuclear weapons when they have not done those things and when you can't even prove that they are trying to do either of those things.

        December 29, 2011 at 4:40 am |
      • norman

        Old Cactus, you keep referring to the destruction of this country. No mirror at home? You are a loser. Stay where you are. America is going down fast. The world's one hope. I hope you're not so old that you miss what losers like you have done to the US.

        December 29, 2011 at 5:50 am |
      • MythBuster

        Hey Joe... go get a cup of coffee and wake up, 911 was an inside job!..

        December 29, 2011 at 11:31 am |
      • Thinker23

        Aroth... I'll gladly PROVE to you that Iran does indeed intend to develop nuclear weapons... Right after you'll explain HOW will Iran possibly use hundreds of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles it acquired during the last several years. Please consider that such missiles are virtually harmless without proper warheads while their effectiveness with conventional warheads was shown pretty convincingly by Saddam's SCUDs during the first Gulf war. You may also consider that if you can not answer my question there will be no need to PROVE Iranian intentions. Finally, WHY should we trust YOU more than the President of Iran?

        December 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
      • aroth

        Thinker23 – Perhaps they will use them as a deterrent to attack, which they are even with conventional warheads. That's pretty much all they're good for. Having hundreds of "nuclear capable" missiles is meaningless when you 1) don't have even a single nuclear warhead and 2) have not done anything to indicate that you would actually use the missiles with any type of warhead. By your reasoning we might ask what Russia, China, India, Pakistan, the U.S., and others are going to use their myriad of nuclear-warhead equipped ballistic missiles for and conclude that we must wipe all of them out.

        And I'm not asking anyone to trust me personally. I'm expecting people to accept that "innocent until proven guilty" is more than just a catchy phrase. It's a sound guideline to use whenever accusations are being thrown around with nothing to really substantiate them, whether on the domestic or international stage.

        You argument, and the arguments of those like you, is based upon nothing except fear, paranoia, and the supposition of guilt. None of those are worth going to war over. Show some tangible proof of behavior egregious enough to be worth going to war over, or chill out, relax, get on with your life, and let the Iranians get on with theirs.

        December 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
      • Dev

        And who are you to judge who should have a nuclear bomb? How about haviung a nuclear free world. Will Israel and USA get rid fo their bombs? What are they afraid of in a nuclear free world? Ah i seee, they just want to kill civillians!!!

        December 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
      • Gordy

        @redfrog US, Russia, China, France, UK etc. have experience with nuclear weapons, and are smart enough not to use them unless as a last resort. Iran on the other is ruled by a suicidal and homicidal regime that wants to wipe another country off the map, that's why they can't have the bomb.

        January 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • matyp

      and you would be one of the first people to complain and moan about how much your paying for gas at the pump

      December 29, 2011 at 12:58 am | Reply
  3. Nam Vet

    I posted on these boards when Bush spoke of the "Axis of Evil" and said his priorities were reversed and that he need to take out the axis is this sequence: North Korea, Iran and, lastly, Iraq. Using the logic of taking out hostile nuclear threats first. But, noooo, GWB went after the weakest bully on the block, Saddam H. So, now which is next Iran or N.K.?

    Israel can take out Iran and think that could happen with the unofficial noninterference of the Arab League countries who have their own reasons to wish ill will upon Iran. The uncertainty in N.K. will remain high until Kim, The Lightweight, either establishes himself or is otherwise taken care of. That leaves it to ROK, Janpan China and the U.S. to suppress the nuclear threat.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Reply
    • Onesmallvoice

      I don't mind telling you Nam Vet, that there is absolutey nothing glorious about going to war. These wars may bring joy to the politicians in Washington but bring only misery and heartache to people living in these countries and I hardly deem that fair!

      December 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Reply
      • OldCactus

        You arte just too stupid to see what will happen if Iran gets the bomb. It could lead to a nuclear WWIII with millions of Americans killed. Not by Iran but by either Russia or China if a nuclear war started.

        December 28, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
      • reddfrog

        Lead the charge OldCactus, lead the charge.

        December 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Can you elaborate a bit? I'm interested to know how exactly Israel will "take out" Iran considering that Iran has TEN TIMES larger population and NINETY TIMES larger territory that Israel; that between Israel and Iran lay THOUSANDS OF MILES of several Arab countries at war with Israel; that Israel does not have strategic bombers, aircraft carriers or millions of troops...

      December 29, 2011 at 6:11 am | Reply
      • Pie

        But they got nukes thanks to the good U.S.A.

        December 30, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  4. Keith B. Rosenberg

    So far diplomacy has not worked with Iran. Neither has limited economic pressure. I suppose we could surrender to them.

    December 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Reply
    • James

      If we did that we would be French.

      December 29, 2011 at 7:23 am | Reply
  5. marc 47

    I have some news for everyone: A war with Iran will happen as well as Syria. It doesn't much matter whether you are a Christian or not, because God doesn't need our opinions. But, the book of Daniel states that Medes (Syria)and Persia (iran) will be attacked by the King of Grecia and destroyed. Its just a matter of time, so hold your comments and when it does ocur, then know that God is God and everything it says in the Bible is true and will happen just as God allows it!

    December 28, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      I have some news for you as well... Yes, God is God and not a machine running a program written in some 2000-year-old book. It's up to Him to decide what, where and how will happen and if He does not like the scenario of the old book He will make corrections.

      December 29, 2011 at 6:16 am | Reply
    • MythBuster

      Whoa, some God... you got your head wrapped up in so much mysticism you can't see straight. That crap not gonna happen friend, life on this planet is by far more important than your silly prophecy's...

      December 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  6. Muin

    You're right. It's a nightmare scenario for people who wish world peace.

    December 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  7. wes

    Stay out of it USA.

    December 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • bomb them all

      no

      December 29, 2011 at 12:48 am | Reply
  8. Derrick

    Obama isn't going to start another war in the Middle East right after they pulled out of Iraq, in the middle of a recession. In fact any politician proposing a war will likely find himself voted out of office.

    December 28, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Reply
    • OldCactus

      I love it when mentally challenged people like your self tell us what the president will and will not do.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Reply
      • reddfrog

        It's called an opinion OldCactus, which may or may not be valid. However, actively insulting someone just because you think your opinion is superior only leads me to my opinion that you're a low-class republican.

        December 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
      • Cocopuf

        To Redfeog ... Low class or high class Republican has nothing to do with the facts on the table ... which is, that Iran is bent on getting a nuclear capability to cause more problems for the region. Don't be so stubborn about it.

        December 29, 2011 at 1:24 am |
      • Dev

        I just hope all Americans are just noty like you!!! You are the biggest laugh around here. Go America Go for another war!!! So that people like OldCactus loose their jobs and their house and their car. then theor wife and children. Would love to see him at the food bank-if one will still exist after the nextr American war!!!

        December 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Derrick... You're right, Obama will not start another war in the Middle East. Iran will.

      December 29, 2011 at 6:25 am | Reply
    • Kristy

      The troops that got pulled out of Iraq in this last withdrawal did not get sent home. I have read reports that say they were moved into Jordan and stationed at the border of Syria and Jordan. If the US government wasn't planning something against Syria then this would not have happened. I believe if something happens in Syria then Iran will automatically become involved as they are allies. It would be a very handy way to get extra justification to then turn the military focus (not just of the USA but also the EU) fully against Iran.
      I believe the objective against Iran is not simply about the possibility of it producing nuclear weapons. The picture is much, much bigger than that.

      December 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  9. mcamelyne

    What would be the point of negotiating if you intend to fight a war. The US needs Iran to make the first move so it can justify a response to Russia and China. Closing the Straits is exactly what the neo-cons want. At that point the US will break the blockade. That is the whole point of this. We have 20,000 troops in Kuwait to deter the Iranians from attacking Kuwait. The chess pieces are being moved in place and the game is a foot.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  10. magneticink

    I wouldn't call sinking a few Iranian warships, or surgical strikes on their nuke sites...war.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      You should call it a war. Attacking military ships of another country and bombing its facilities is an ACT OF AGGRESSION according to UN Resolution 3414. An act of aggression is an act of war.

      December 29, 2011 at 6:29 am | Reply
  11. David T

    Who are you all kidding? There is no way that the US and/or Israel can defeat Iran without using Nukes. If they think they can they will be in for a rude shock.A war with Iran will definitely see the end of Israel, and will be another loss for the US. Look at Iraq, lies and deceit led to that war, and it looks like the US, which is now entrenched in the business of war (its failing at doing anything else) is doing whatever it can to start a war with Iran and try to make Iran look like the aggressor. The US is full of uneducated, jobless red necks. Iran is full of well educated and sophisticated people, despite the sanctions. It is just so sad to see the US be the bully, and rely on old and out of date information from 2003 to impose new sanctions.Stupid. This whole idea of pre-emptive strikes is immoral and unjustified. A nuclear Iran would still not pose a threat to anyone. Its not Iran who has troops and murderous spies all over the world.

    December 29, 2011 at 12:41 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      You're right that Israel can not defeat Iran without using nukes. You're wrong that a war with Iran will be the end of Israel... Israel will not use force against Iran unless as a last resort in case there will be no other option to prevent an Iranian attack on Israel. If it happens, however, Israel will not ask for anyone's permission to defend itself and will use all means necessary to defeat the enemy. Up to and including turning the enemy country into a radioactive wasteland.

      December 29, 2011 at 6:41 am | Reply
      • MythBuster

        It shows you don't live in the ME, turning Iran into a radioactive wasteland will turn the whole region including Israel into a radioactive wasteland... Nice thinking Thinker...

        December 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
      • Thinker23

        MythBuster... Did you disagree with Something I've said? If so WHAT WAS IT?

        December 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
      • Dev

        Just thgink a little harder,please. What will happen in Israel if a nuclear bom is dropped in Iran? Did you get it? Look at the map again and see what the wind does?

        December 29, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Russ

      I do agree that dialogue should be started. War should only be only used when all options are exhausted. Even Joint Chief's Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen suggested there should be a (hotline) between the 2 countries so no misconsceptions could be perceived that could lead to a war. We had one with the Soviets during the Cold War and no nuclear holocaust occurred thankfully. Given our impressive intelligence record with WMDs. How do we know the Iranians don't already have the bomb?. It's the regime that's hostile not the people. Most Iranians like Americans. They lit candles in honor of the victims of September 11th. I'm not saying don't plan or prepare for war. However use every resource you can to avoid it and when planning go after the right people. You don't have to invade the entire country.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Reply
      • MythBuster

        Russ there is still no reason to have war when all options are exhausted... it's a no brainer, there are no options! all they want is to box in Iran and provoke them by starving them with sanctions. Iran is giving them what they want if go through with a blockage of the straight of Hormuz. Look, Pakistan has 100's of nukes and a real strenuous relationship with the US and get's 10% of the attention Iran does... nukes are not the issue here, just busy little bees working very hard to make everyone's life miserable.

        December 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
      • Thinker23

        MythBuster... As far as I recall Pakistan did not threaten to eliminate any country from the "page of time". Further, if you believe in your own words will be so kind to explain WHY Iranian leaders are doing everything they can to convince the world that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and thus provoke the US into a military action against Iran?

        December 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  12. David T is a retard

    The US or Israel could easily crush Iran with conventional weapons. Nukes just makes it a lot easier. And a nuclear Iran just makes a certainty that they get destroyed by Israel since they will not stand for it and rightfully so. Personally I can't wait to see the stinkin Iranian Sand Jockeys eliminated.

    December 29, 2011 at 12:47 am | Reply
    • David T

      I rest my case. Calling me retarded? You can only be one of the uneducated citizens of the US. Go watch some Fox news, listen to Bill Oreilly and Glenn Beck and stick your (obviously) empty head back up your best side.You are exactly what is wrong with the US. I grew up there, I have lived and worked there for half of my life. I do know what I am talking about. Get back in your trailer and get educated. You have obviously got no idea of the facts, and got all your information from Fox. Maybe you should do a bit more self education. You will then understand how powerful the Iran army is and how well armed. And if you don't think Turkey (without question the second most powerful and well armed nation), and Pakistan (with its nukes}, will get involved, you are living in that place your head is stuck.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:56 am | Reply
      • Dan Brewer

        Seriously, isn't Iran the ones with the ultra modern, Top secret, state of the art flying boats? Iraq had the largest most advanced army in the Middle east before 1990. it took the US only a few hours to toatally destroy that army. now as for Turkey. 339 Leopard 2 does not make it a modern army. the bulk of it's armour is comprised of M60A3 TTS ( a tank i was trained on in the early 80's) and M48's. 1950 – 60 Technology. warfare is and should always be the last option but í just get tired of everyone talking up third rate Armies. all the Armies in the Middle East all together could not keep pace with the US. that is just simple fact.

        December 29, 2011 at 1:53 am |
      • I agree, David T is retarded

        Iran is not above Treating women like second class people, and murdering people that don't support the current president...

        The Iranian President embodies the type of person I hate.... he's a religious maniac that just can't wait nuke everyone that isn't islamic in the name of "Holyness" which he loves to talk about...

        Even if god was real, he'd be turning in his grave...

        ***And just so you actually get a clue***, nobody is really scared of Iran.... Smart people are worried about the after shocks between the USA and Russia/China...

        December 29, 2011 at 7:41 am |
  13. ronanski

    better to start to attack iran than never, nukes are deadly and they are bullying the u.s , it is the same thing we will come to that. if the u.s doesn't act it means the u.s are cowards! better france will do it!

    December 29, 2011 at 12:51 am | Reply
  14. Mr. International

    The US should stand down and let others, namely those using Iranian oil like China and many countries in the EU, step up. Only 15% of US' oil comes through the straits, none from Iran while China and Europe are critcally dependent on Iranian oil and the straits in general. If there was ever a time for a coordinated diplomacy across NATO, it's now. First, Iran is bluffing: it needs refined gas products like diesel to flow through the straits to Iran. It is simply forcibly raising gas prices to make more money off of the exports. Finally, America does not need another Iraq or Afghanistan, not now, not ever. The cost in life and treasure of those two Bush wars were not worth it.

    Until Iran fires a shot at an American asset or declares war, the US should stand down and let the world, finally, step up.

    December 29, 2011 at 2:39 am | Reply
  15. Fool me once...shame on u, Fool me Twice...SHAME ON ME

    A nuclear armed Iran is not the threat. IT IS THE CURRENCY THAT IRAN USES TO TRADE OIL. OMG. WAKE UP people. Follow the money. Just follow the money. The fragile U.S. economy is limping along using smoke and mirrors. Oil is by far, the most traded commodity, and the volatility of the U.S. dollar as the standard form of payment for oil purchases makes the dollar critical to the survival of the U.S. economy. Oil rich countries who decided to ditch the U.S. Dollar for the EURO (or their own currency) has instantly found themselves a victim of American retaliation. How? we vilify, isolate and eliminate those regimes who choose not to use the USD for their standard currency in trade. Grrrr Iraq, Venezuela, Iran, just to name a few, are countries who represent the 3rd/4th and 5th largest suppliers of oil in the world. To use a currency other than the USD for oil trade is a direct threat to an American economy, falsely held together by the sustained demand for the dollar. No need to go to FOX news.. just google which countries do NOT use the Dollar as the standard trading currency and u will see our enemies. WMD's/ DRUGS/NUKES/TERRORISM etc) any excuse to get them to play ball, or we take them off the chess board.
    The Banks control the world's economies, and the world's governments. Rather than think of clever insults, research the OWNERS of the banks... then you will see who is REALLY running things. Don't take my word for it, LOOK IT UP.

    December 29, 2011 at 3:06 am | Reply
    • At Last an intelligent American

      Good post.

      December 29, 2011 at 3:25 am | Reply
  16. Billly

    Too many Neville Chamberlain's on this board ... How is it that we forget history so guick? Dust off your history books and see what that diplomatic yo-yo did talking to nut jobs.
    You cannot reason with insanity so diplomacy with leadership in Iran is really not a viable option at this point in time.

    December 29, 2011 at 3:15 am | Reply
    • Ttriac

      well Billy ur a tough guy how about u get ur ass over there and attack them hmm? ITs funny how Iran is painted as the agressor the US only has bases in every single country surrounding Iran

      December 29, 2011 at 3:46 am | Reply
      • Camper

        I live in the region and I really don't think this is true. I don't believe the US has bases in either Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan.

        December 29, 2011 at 5:36 am |
    • Dev

      this is exactly what many people in the world say about USA!! Surprised? Go take an opinion poll and find out.Ok?

      December 29, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  17. Bribarian

    It's funny they think they can start Iraq war 2 after the first disaster. Zi0nists want their next war though, will americans be duped again?

    December 29, 2011 at 4:10 am | Reply
  18. RossC

    Brazil & Turkey did not get Iran to a yes. The Iranians were still putting impossible preconditions the outcome of talks.

    December 29, 2011 at 4:15 am | Reply
  19. HugoCorv

    The author clearly wants Iran to get nuclear weapons.

    President Obama has been trying diplomacy to the maximum extent. Iran saw that as a weakness and accelerated its nuclear weapons program. Obama has then been trying sanctions. Iran saw this as well as a weakness and has accelerated its nuclear weapons program.

    Iran is just stalling for time until it gets nuclear weapons. Once it gets nukes, it will be immune to military intervention, and can take over the rest of the Middle East which has 56% of the worlds oil, either directly or by turning them into vassal states, as it did with Lebanon.

    December 29, 2011 at 4:17 am | Reply
  20. Economics 101

    Well from an economical stand point, I can surely say that the US can’t afford another war. The US National Debt stands currently at 15.1 Trillion which is exactly the same money that the US has so we are exactly 100% in Debt. We define this in economy as Bankruptcy; it would be the same as a normal person having 10,000 in the bank but owing 10,000 in credit card debt and getting another credit card to pay for that. Going into another war would be an economical disaster for the US; we simply can’t afford it anymore. No matter if its a good idea or a bad idea to go to war, US doesn't have the money for it anymore.

    December 29, 2011 at 5:15 am | Reply
    • Camper

      While I agree that a war would certainly not be a good thing for the US economically I also believe that whether a country can afford a war should not be the first criteria as to entering into one. Also, there is a lot of talk of how Iraq was defeated in such a short period of time. I think if some research is done you will find that Iran is a much more formidable opponent. This is also not the point. The point is whether Iran is a direct and immediate threat to the US. I doubt that anyone posting on this board is in a position to determine whether this is the case.

      December 29, 2011 at 5:48 am | Reply
  21. nadeem

    Who are the US foreign policy advisers/planners. Those goat-heads do not know what they are doing. Imagine, after more than ten years in Iraq, with billions of dollars in military cost and almost 5,000 lives lost, some idiots in Washington are eying talking another war with Iran, even when the resolution of the on going mess in Afghanistan is not in sight. American tax-payers do not need another wasteful spending on war. Reviving the economy is much more important to them. Can't the US do anything positive except waging unnecessary wars. .

    December 29, 2011 at 7:13 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      It is pretty clear that YOU are not one of the US foreign policy advisers/planners. It is no less clear that your chances of becoming one of them are extremely slim. You see, these people make REAL decision based on REAL facts in the REAL world.

      December 29, 2011 at 8:02 am | Reply
  22. Xylo

    LIVE, AND LET LIVE !

    December 29, 2011 at 7:57 am | Reply
  23. David

    Make no mistake, war is coming to the region.Iran and Israel will be big players. Read Exekiel Chapter 38-39 in the bible. There will be no TRUE peace until the Prince of Peace comes back to this earth. Jesus Christ.

    December 29, 2011 at 8:01 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      God is God and not a machine running a program written in some 2000-year-old book. It's up to Him to decide what, where and how will happen and if He does not like the scenario of the old book He will make corrections.

      December 29, 2011 at 8:03 am | Reply
    • Freddy

      wow, your really going out on a limb there! War will take place in that region, you say? You mean just like it has throughout all of friggin history?

      December 29, 2011 at 9:03 am | Reply
  24. Freddy

    Trita, the auther, tells us that the price of oil is 'soaring'. Just exactly what is your definition of soaring? I see no 'soaring' going on anywhere! Check out any chart of oil in any region – there is no soaring. Stop trying to scare people!

    December 29, 2011 at 8:15 am | Reply
  25. Roland

    Whenever i read things like "the Euro is about to collapse" I get the sense I'm living on another planet.The Euro won't ever collapse.In fact in all the countries going through painful but required reforms the population overwhelmingly want to keep the Euro.The only countries where there is some opposition to the Euro is in the triple A nations that are paying the bailouts but here as well support for the Euro is still in a majority also among the political parties.There simply is no sign of any collapse.

    December 29, 2011 at 8:17 am | Reply
  26. Leonard

    IRAN is puppet of Saudi and American Policticians.

    1. Saudi wants higher oil but cannot do on its own .
    2. American Politicians want to justify trillions of dollars to maintain money burning military machinery

    December 29, 2011 at 8:20 am | Reply
  27. Chris

    woohoo HMCS Iroquois (280) at 2:15

    December 29, 2011 at 9:17 am | Reply
  28. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    Just think. When the GOP regain power, they wil start a war with Iran (totally unfunded of course). Then they will draft all the poor people to fight/die in the war while giving the rich people "no bid" contracts. Killing two birds with one stone. Then we will pay for the war with Iran's oil. And when the war is over, Iran will sell us cheap oil. Just like in Iraq.................Oh wait........Never mind.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:56 am | Reply
    • Nelson

      Is that really how you see current events, and in fact world events in general? If only it were as simple as you say, it'd be so easy to make 'right' decisions at the international level. What solution are you proposing? Free everything for everyone? Nothing for anyone? Something in the middle? You provide nothing but relatively sad oversimplistic and highly flawed views of the events at hand and perhaps ironically, it's amazing that this nations leaders and protectors have allowed you to live such an isolated domestic life that you can formulate this opinion and portray it as fact and probably you will never know the difference... Interesting times indeed... -_-

      December 29, 2011 at 10:34 am | Reply
    • Chipoff

      The best comment yet:-)

      December 29, 2011 at 10:38 am | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.