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In ‘What If’ Scenario, US Would Likely Respond to Iranian Terror Plot in Ways Short of War

James Woolsey, John Hannah
14th October 2011 - Quoted by the Associated Press

“You would want to start with putting sanctions on steroids,” said James Woolsey, a CIA director under President Bill Clinton, who added that he would propose a “total secondary boycott” on Iran. “With the exception of food and medicine, any person, partnership or corporation in any country that does business with Iran in any form could not do business with the United States.”

Woolsey said the U.S. would be wise to steer clear of military options. Even an air or naval blockade would risk a significant escalation in the conflict at a time when the U.S. could rally countries around the world for far tougher sanctions against the Islamic republic, he said. ...

Had the terror plot worked, “the immediate question would have been whether you go after the nuclear program and set it back by several years,” said John Hannah, who was national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. He said such an approach would have far greater strategic effect than “the pinprick of lobbing 50 missiles at various sites.”

Hannah said the attack as it was purportedly planned — for a restaurant where Americans may also have been killed — would demand a military response and that any American action could bring the countries closer to war. The U.S. should send a message to make sure Iran doesn’t entertain similar plans in the future, he said, while “leveraging this unbelievable act of aggression” to deal with a problem that has been twisting American officials in knots for the last decade.


iran, sanctions