President Barack Obama. REUTERS

Let's from the get-go point out the obvious: Iran does not, even in the slightest, have any intention of quitting its attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. And why should they? No one is stopping them.

The cycle is a bit tried at this point, but it goes something like: U.S. President Barack Obama slaps sanctions on Iran, and Tehran continues merrily along. Obama and the United Nations double-team sanctions, and Tehran scoffs. Obama has also tried extending an opened hand of friendship only to be met with a clenched fist. Ineffective, clearly.

With an election fast approaching, Obama earlier this month signed a new law that penalizes foreign financial institutions from doing business with Iran's central bank, which processes payments from oil exports. (It will be months, however, before the sanctions are actually implemented.) And still, Iran shrugs off international calls to halt its atomic weapons program, while also promising to cut off the Strait of Hormuz if Western nations impose sanctions on its oil shipments.

The Atlantic's Jeffery Goldberg proposed giving peace with Iran another chance -- the choice word of another already supporting the notion that peace attempts with Iran is futile. Been there, done that.

Goldberg writes: Yes, the chances are slim that Iran would respond positively to the Administration's request for an unfettered dialogue that could lead to a) the end of Iran's diplomatic and economic isolation, and b) the end of Iran's nuclear program (or at least its military component.)

But that would be giving Iran their way.

Negotiations are a double-game, the very best way to stall while getting what you really want, Time's Karl Vick quoted an actual Iranian negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, as saying.

While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan [Iran].

Words are wind when it comes to talking with Iran, and if the White House doesn't follow through on its threats of sanctions, it will only be proving it doesn't mean what it says. What has become strikingly clear is that the Obama administration is wasting time on talking diplomacy and imposing heaps of sanctions because it keeps up the appearance of doing something -- however ineffective it is -- even if it doesn't really know what to do next.

Obama has to move past half-hollow promises and take action. Soft threats are sure to fail.