The Obama administration has accepted the failure of its chatting with theocrats policy toward Iran -- sort of, and is looking at applying a favored half-measure: sanctions. There was actually previous talk about "crippling sanctions" -- whatever they are -- but now the emphasis has shifted to "targeted sanctions" -- better known as useless sanctions. As the Christian Science Monitor points out, the shift has much to do with China, which has demonstrated a "lack of enthusiasm" for sanctions.
For reasons of its own, it is apparent that China doesn't particularly care whether or not Iran gets nuclear weapons. According to the article,
China might eventually be persuaded to go along with sanctions against members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps involved in the nuclear program, Katzman suggests, but would almost certainly oppose any measures aimed at succoring the opposition to the Iranian regime. China regularly opposes any action it deems to be international interference in another country’s domestic affairs.As one expert put it,
from what we’re seeing it’s pretty clear this [sanctions] process is going to be very gradual.”That's a nice way of saying completely useless.