By Brooke Chatterton

Recently, tensions in the Middle East have skyrocketed when Israel blamed Iran for two separate attacks on February the 13th and 14th. The first was a join attack perpetrated against the capitals of India and Georgia against Israeli Embassy personal, the second in a residential neighborhood in Bangkok, Thailand. While it is impossible to be 100 percent certain that Iran was behind the attacks, rumors are just as powerful as truth when it comes to matters of international diplomacy.

This escalation of tension comes at a time when Iran has pushed forward on its nuclear program despite fresh rounds of sanctions and international condemnation. Iran in one word is unpredictable. They engage in talks to stop nuclear talks when beneficial, threaten to cut off oil production when beneficial, and then turn around and trumpet their nuclear progress at every opportunity.

Due to the rising tensions between Iran and the United States’ ally Israel and due to Iran’s game of nuclear chicken, the debate of how the United States should proceed in relation to Iran has become a more and more contentious topic. If Israel were to retaliate and precipitate a game of murderous one-ups-man-ship with Iran, the United States could be dragged into another war. Some say that the Iran threat is overblown, but in a post 9/11 United States, any threat is magnified to the American people, and the American government should act according to the interests of the people.

Some advocate outright war or covert action. To an America that is finally managing to disentangle itself from previous engagements, that solution to the problem is overblown to a war weary country. Covert action faces the problem that while the action may be covert, the results are very public. It is hard to disguise a burnt out building or a murdered diplomat, and with the current state of relations, no matter how covert the action, the United States, or Israel, would be blamed by Iran. War would soon follow.

The optimal solution lies somewhere in the center. Not lying down and taking it as Iran manipulates oil prices and pushes forward on its nuclear program, but short of hostile action.

The action taken should be suitable to cause Iran to deviate from its current path of bold defiance.

The naturally solution is comprehensive sanctions by the majority of the countries that Iran exports to. The problem with that is that the last round of sanctions, so far, has not caused
Iran to back down. But these sanctions were not comprehensive enough. Russia, India, China,
and Turkey have not signed on, leaving Iran with willing consumers of its main export, oil.

Japan and South Korea has indicated willingness to impose more sanctions, on the condition that the economic repercussions are further investigated.

The first step of action is for the United States to convince Japan and South Korea to sign on and then for the United States to evaluate the impact of the sanctions after they have
had a few months to affect the Iranian economy. If Iran has not acquiesced to the nuclear
restrictions imposed on it and halted its actions against Israel, other options, including UN co-
sponsored action against Iranian nuclear facilities should be considered.