A NEW IRAN TIMELINE EMERGES. Back in February, U.S. point man on Iran Nick Burns told the Brookings Institution (.pdf): 'We have got some time" for diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran to show results. Now State department officials are signaling, the window for multilateral diplomacy is "unwinding." The immediate cause of the change in tone? The U.S. is badgering allies on the UN Security Counil to impose a third round of sanctions on Iran for failing to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency on its nuclear program. "Look, the third round of sanctions is critical," a State Department official said. "If we're up there begging and bargaining and negotiating over the graduation of what are largely ineffective sanctions, then fine, time is not long..."

But on a June 6th visit to Washington for the US-Israel Strategic Dialogue, the Israeli team leader, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, said he and Secretary of State Rice agreed to review sanctions' effectiveness at the end of the year. "Sanctions must be strong enough to bring about change in the Iranians by the end of 2007," Mofaz was cited by JTA.

So a new timeline would appear to be emerging: if the current route of multilateral diplomacy and economic pressure hasn't achieved a change in Iran's behavior on the nuclear front by the end of the year, there is likely to be renewed and concerted pressure on the Bush administration to contemplate military action.

-- Laura Rozen