The United States under President Barack Obama has switched sides and is now joining Russia in opposing international economic sanctions against Iran.
Former US President George W. Bush was the international community's chief proponent of strong economic sanctions against Iran, but Obama has doggedly stuck with a much softer approach since being elected last year, despite continued Iranian defiance and provocation regarding its nuclear program.
European and other industrialized nations recognize how dangerously close Iran is coming to acquiring nuclear weapons, and what the recent post-election crackdown in Tehran says about the mentality of its government, and want to introduce new sanctions at Wednesday's G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy.
But US officials have said Obama will actively oppose any new sanctions, and an Italian newspaper cited Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as saying he wholeheartedly backs the US president in that endeavor.
Meanwhile, Israeli government officials told The Washington Times on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is increasingly hesitant about asking Obama for a green light to strike Iran, fearing that an outright rejection of the request could put an end to the military option.
London's Sunday Times reported earlier this week that ultimately, Israel may not need America's go-ahead to strike Iran. According to the report, Saudi Arabia, which stands to lose nearly as much as Israel if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, is willing to turn a blind eye to Israeli aircraft passing through its airspace.