Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the U.S. needs to devise "fear- inducing measures" to make Iranian's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei understand his choice is "a bomb or his own regime's survival."
Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said the escalation in rhetoric and economic sanctions has only allowed Iran's nuclear program to grow while "decimating" the country's middle class.
"We're about to have a major crisis as far as Iranian nuclear weapons are concerned," Senator John McCain of Arizona, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at the conference. "The world is rapidly changing, and the world requires American leadership."
Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who heads the committee, said that "the military option needs to be kept on the table because that's an additional pressure point."