The U.S. and Israel have launched punishing sanctions upon Iran and one or both have assassinated Iranian scientists. Sanctions are not a way of avoiding a war; they are a prelude to war; they are the beginning stages of a war.
Before the unprovoked attack upon Iraq by Bush and Cheney, some of us tried to alert the public to what The New York Times and others would not tell people: it is a war crime to attack a country that has not first attacked you, WMD or no WMD. Apparently, this was not among the "news that's fit to print."
Had the people learned this simple fact, then we could have avoided the more than a million Iraqis who have died violent deaths because of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and we could have avoided the more than 50,000 Americans who have died in the war, either of injuries inflicted in combat or afterwards due to suicides (with 18/day killing themselves because of PTSD and related grief and pain).
Not only is it a war crime to launch an unprovoked attack on another country, it is the supreme war crime.
The reason for this should be clear: if it is permissable for a country to invade other countries as long as they claim that they feel threatened by that other country, then there would be no bar against wars being carried out right and left under the fig leaf justification that the country didn't like the way that other country was looking at them.
In the instant case, the U.S. government is justifying an attack on a country that does not have a nuclear weapon, has not indicated that it is going to produce a nuclear weapon, and is not threatening to use its radioactive watches (which is about where their nuclear program is at) as weapons against any other country.
The only country to ever use nuclear weapons upon a civilian population (i.e., non-combatants) is none other than the biggest sword rattler here, the U.S. of A.
The other sword rattler, Israel, has hundreds of nuclear weapons, refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and will not allow the IAEA to inspect its facilities. It is also likely the guilty party for the assassinations of several Iranian nuclear scientists.
Yet, you don't hear the halls of Congress and the Oval Office resounding with calls for a pre-emptive attack upon Israel or upon the only country that has used nukes on people - the U.S. government itself - in the name of preserving the peace.
Iran has attacked no other countries. The two most bellicose countries in this contrived drama are, on the other hand, the worst perpetrators of aggressive war themselves - the U.S. and Israel.
None other than American Judge Robert H. Jackson who served as the chief American prosecutor at Nuremberg made clear the nature of aggressive war:
"[T]he Nuremberg Tribunal sentenced a number of persons responsible for starting World War II. One consequence of this is that nations who are starting an armed conflict must now argue that they are either exercising the right of self-defense, the right of collective defense, or - it seems - the enforcement of the criminal law of jus cogens. It has made formal declaration of war uncommon after 1945.
"During the trial, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, stated:
To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." (From Wikipedia).