In July, the panel's average estimate of the chances of an Israeli or U.S. strike on Iran in the next year was 38 percent. This is a 2-point increase on June's figure of 36 percent and snaps a 3-month streak where the chances of conflict steadily declined.
July saw the introduction of a new round of sanctions on Iran, including an EU oil embargo, which Iranian officials described as "warfare."
In a meeting with Mitt Romney, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed for a tough stance. "All the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota. We need a strong and credible military threat coupled with sanctions."
One of Romney's top foreign policy aides promised that a Romney White House would "respect" Israel's decision to strike Iran. This deliberate loosening of the reins could make the threat of an Israeli attack more credible. But it could also diminish Washington's capacity to restrain Israel.
Meanwhile, negotiations with Iran appear to have stalled. Each side's diplomatic B Team, or the deputy negotiators, met in Istanbul last week. But there was little sign of progress, and the A Teams are still waiting in the wings.
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