Obama’s Iran Dilemma: How to Respond to a Plot Seemingly Designed to Provoke Escalation?


The fact that President Barack Obama on Thursday found himself insisting that the facts support his Administration’s efforts to hold Tehran accountable for a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington suggests that the world is not yet rushing to fall in line with his call for „the toughest sanctions” on Iran.

The „toughest sanctions”, of course, would mean an oil embargo and blockade preventing Iran from importing gasoline, although such moves are so unlikely to win support that the Administration may not press for it. A more plausible goal might be to target Iran’s central bank, in the hope of choking off the country’s ability to trade on international markets. Even that move – which some in Tehran say would be treated as an „act of war” – would require the support of other countries, and would  likely be opposed by  those such as Russia, China and…

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