It is difficult to say whether sanctions are working. Iran has not abandoned its nuclear program, and is probably receiving under-the-table assistance from China and/or North Korea. In all probability sanctions will not work. As for the feasibility of an Israeli strike, in terms of distance to the target and Iranian defenses, there is plenty of uncertainty. Nobody knows whether a strike of this kind would succeed or not. Given the international condemnation of Israel that would result, and the possible loss of U.S. support, the Iranians might secretly wish for an attack (provided it fails).
Given the consequences to the world economy (if the Strait of Hormuz is closed, even for a short time), it is not in the U.S. national interest for Israel to bomb Iran. While an Iranian nuclear arsenal would pose a potential threat to the United States, it would not be the only such threat. Russia and China already have nuclear arsenals aimed at America. What is more frightening to the Americans is a war in the Persian Gulf with a constricted flow of oil. In light of this, it is not surprising that President Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta have both warned the Israelis against a preventive strike in the past. This makes more recent statements by Panetta suspect, adding weight to the theory that U.S. and Israeli officials are attempting to intimidate Iran with tough talk.
Some Israeli strategists believe there is no choice. Israel will have to accept the reality of Iranian nuclear power. Therefore, they argue, Israel must rely on deterrence. Besides this, there is only one country that would profit by an Israeli attack on Iran. That country is Russia. First, because a closure of the Strait of Hormuz would mean that Russian oil exports would generate vast profits for the Kremlin. Yet the Russian government does not enjoy popular support at the moment. If Putin is replaced in the upcoming elections, Russia might be in a stronger position (or maybe not). But for now, massive anti-government protests in Moscow makes Iran unsure of Russia’s help. All these factors may lead the Iranians to short-term concessions.
Full article: Iran Crisis Heats Up (JR Nyquist)