US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely

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American officials are resigned to the fact that the US will be seen in much of the world as a partner in any Israeli assault on Iran -- whether or not Washington approved of it. The administration will then have to decide whether to, in the parlance of the US military, "pile on", by using its much greater firepower to finish what Israel starts. "The sanctions are there to pressure Iran and reassure Israel that we are taking this issue seriously," said one official. "The focus is on demonstrating to Israel that this has a chance of working. Israel is sceptical but appreciates the effort. It is willing to give it a go, but how long will it wait?"

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At www.guardian.co.uk

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