Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have said that a strike on Syria is necessary in part to send a message to Iran. In an interview with PRI’s The World, Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour said that it’s possible Iran would give Hezbollah in Lebanon the go-ahead to launch missiles into Israel if the United States decided to strike Syria. However, Sadjadpour said, Iran is spread very thin. “They’re spending enormous amounts of money in Syria to keep the Assad regime afloat and they would have to think twice about opening up another war front with Israel which is going to spread them even thinner,” he explained.

Syria is Iran’s indispensable regional ally, Sadjadpour said, and for Iran, up until now, it’s been a zero sum game and they’re putting all their bets into making sure Assad doesn’t fall. “It’s very difficult to negotiate when it’s all or nothing,” he argued. But while the Obama administration is pitching the strike to Congress as sending a strong signal to Iran, Iran’s nuclear ambitions are probably going to remain the same, regardless of what the United States decides to do in Syria. 

This interview was originally conducted by PRI’s The World.