“Iranian leaders are unlikely to lash out blindly,” said Maloney. “Instead, they will indulge in the short-term opportunity to whip up nationalism and wait for the best opportunity to inflict damage on U.S. interests and allies.”

Political risk consultancy Eurasia Group predicted on Friday that Iran’s immediate response would likely involve low to moderate level clashes inside Iraq, with Iranian-backed militias attacking U.S. bases, renewed harassment of shipping in the Gulf and other strikes around the world that could be hard to anticipate. A cyberattack is one option Iranian officials are almost certainly considering, according to some experts.

Unlike the political assassination in the Balkans that triggered World War I, the fallout out from Thursday’s attack is likely to be far less widespread, according to Emile Hokayem, senior fellow for Middle East Security at the International Institute for Security Studies, a London-based think tank.