Short of war, the possibilities for forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program appear to be very limited.
Tehran's fanatic leaders may even welcome armed conflict. As we have seen in the recent past, during the war between Iran and Iraq, the mullahs do not hesitate to sacrifice lives by the millions when it suits their whims.
Congress reportedly is preparing a package of economic sanctions against Iran - the only practical approach, it seems.
But sanctions by the United States, or even a coalition of most major nations, will not work unless virtually all of the international community joins in to help.
Frankly, we doubt that such cooperation can be achieved. Again, recent history is illustrative: Embargoes against Iraq, called for by the United Nations during the 1990s, were full of holes.
That was because some countries, including France and Russia, continued doing business with Baghdad.
Until and unless firm, reliable commitments from at least the major powers - and that includes Russia and China - can be obtained, U.S. officials should not impose sanctions on their own, or with help from countries such as Great Britain.
Ineffective economic sanctions against Iran would do more harm than good - and could lead to war.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should make it their top priority to obtain the necessary cooperation.