It is no surprise Iran is willing to start WWIII by repeatedly claiming the country will wipe Israel off the map while ignoring sanctions from the United States. Although President Obama came into office with the idea of "talking to" Iran, U.S. officials are now saying sanctions and talks are doomed to fail. This could be war.
Officials in key parts of the Obama administration are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme, and believe that the US will be left with no option but to launch an attack on Iran or watch Israel do so.
The president has made clear in public, and in private to Israel, that he is determined to give sufficient time for recent measures, such as the financial blockade and the looming European oil embargo, to bite deeper into Iran's already battered economy before retreating from its principal strategy to pressure Tehran.
But there is a strong current of opinion within the administration – including in the Pentagon and the state department – that believes sanctions are doomed to fail, and that their principal use now is in delaying Israeli military action, as well as reassuring Europe that an attack will only come after other means have been tested.
"The White House wants to see sanctions work. This is not the Bush White House. It does not need another conflict," said an official knowledgeable on Middle East policy. "Its problem is that the guys in Tehran are behaving like sanctions don't matter, like their economy isn't collapsing, like Israel isn't going to do anything.
"Sanctions are all we've got to throw at the problem. If they fail then it's hard to see how we don't move to the 'in extremis' option."
Iran war ships are also on the move for the only the second time since the Iranian Revolution.
Iranian ships moved through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, the IRNA news agency reported, citing the country's navy commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayari.
Sayari said the passage through the Suez Canal was only the second made by Iranian ships since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
It follows the passage of the Iranian frigate Alvand and the supply ship Kharg on Feb. 22 last year. The ships successfully moved through the canal and then docked two days later at the Syrian port of Latakia.
Israel called last year's passage a "political provocation" and put its own navy on alert in response.