By Tony Karon
If the conception of the plot was hokey, the tradecraft — communications by phone, money wired from a Quds Force bank account — wasn't worthy of the name.
"You can't make this stuff up," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But unfortunately, since the Iraq invasion, much of the international community is unlikely to easily accept claims made by Washington against rival states whose regimes it would like to be rid of.
Still, even though the plot was thwarted, it could yet provoke an escalation, or even a confrontation, between the U.S. and Iran. The poisoning of the atmosphere will, in all likelihood, further dim the already diminished hopes for any diplomatic progress on the nuclear standoff. And if the Administration fails to win support for a significant escalation of sanctions or other form of punishment for the Tehran regime after presenting evidence of the latest allegations of Iranian malfeasance, the ball will land back in Obama's court. Having made the case that Iran crossed a red line, he will be under pressure to act — or risk entering a highly polarized election season haunted by a "soft on Iran" charge."