The looming crisis in Iran

President Obama’s top foreign policy intiatives for his second term include the continued combat mission in Afghanistan, the crisis in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and economic development in Asia.

But the Christian Science Monitor says it is Iran that could take over all the State Department’s attention and “lead to a new paroxysm of tensions and renewed speculation over the dire global consequences of another Middle East war.”

There could be chance to negotiate since Iran’s economy has been crippled by ongoing sanctions, according to CNN:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is weakened as a political force as his second and final term comes to an end, but it remains unclear if Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will seize the opportunity for a deal.

The Navy Times says “tweaks” to Obama’s Iranian policy could come before inauguration:

Officials say the administration is likely to adjust its two-track approach to Iran — which offers Tehran rewards for coming clean on its nuclear program and harsher penalties for continued defiance — in the coming weeks. Details are still being debated. In the end, however, Obama may have to resort to a military strategy if Iran continues to enrich uranium at higher levels and nears production of weapons-grade material — a possible scenario he acknowledges.

Meanwhile, the Senate has voted for new sanctions on Iran that Foreign Policy says “would impose crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy, with an eye toward preventing a catastrophic consequence for the world oil markets.”

iran.jpgIranian soldiers take part in celebrations marking the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution at Tehran’s Azadi Square (Freedom Square) on February 11, 2012. ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Kerri will discuss the threat of war with Iran, drones, and the controversy over Susan Rice with her Friday Roundtable panelists.