Perhaps President Barack Obama has cleverly back-timed his Iran policy so that he retains the option to act in some forcible manner immediately prior to, and to garner votes for, the 2012 election. He has allowed three years to pass between the time he received a clear rejection of his efforts at "engagement" and the time that sanctions were deployed. If an "October Surprise" is part of his strategy, it will certainly result in something short of addressing the real problems of a nuclear Iran.
For the most part, however, our decades of failed policies with respect to Iran are the product of our Control Factors - that active and continuous effort we engage to distort our perception in order to give us the sense that we are in control of a threat we truly are not. The Control Factor utilizes an array of beliefs, fantasies, and other psychological defenses to generate the illusion that we are in control. The consequence is that Iran, having declared war on America over three decades ago, has never been held responsible for its words or actions as the greatest purveyor of global terror. Instead, we take on that responsibility for ourselves by declaring in multiple ways that it is our inability to understand, behave or negotiate adequately that is the cause of our predicament and Iran's actions. If we are the cause, we are in control.