On the American campaign trail and it the Republican debates the question of Iranian options and how to handle her keeps coming up…
Should sanctions be given time to work? Should military action be taken? But one question I have heard very little of is what if Iran where to strike first?
Very few think that Iran is more likely to make that fateful first step. But why would they?
Essentially it boils down to the tightening of the economic sanctions. True, they are coming under increasing international isolation – but the average man on the street feels the sanctions effect more right now.
So if the Iranians feel that their backs are to the wall – how are they going to feel once the tougher sanctions targeting their oil and banking are applied?
It doesn't really seem that Tehran will collapse economically very soon – but it could over time.
But the issue is whether or not somebody decides 'enough' – and goes off and pulls a trigger…
Perhaps we have seen a little of this in the Iranian idea of closing the Straits of Hormuz?
Some would call such an act 'desperation' on the part of the Iranians – but the point is it would be them firing the gun at the would rather than the US, Israel, or the world firing at them.
Such an act seems suicidal for Iran to do – as the world will go to war over their oil – not over the bombing of their nuclear program – and they know it.
And so does NATO, who is having all their chiefs-of-staff for a meeting this week…
Middle East Correspondent