Washington’s war on Iran includes cyber attacks, other sabotage, targeted assassinations, deadly explosions, sophisticated satellite, drone, and other type spying, bogus accusations, a virtual blockade, hostile saber rattling, multiple rounds of sanctions, and attempts to cripple its central bank and oil industry.
Targeting its nuclear industry is a red herring. At issue is replacing an independent regime with a pro-Western one. All options are considered, including war. If others fail, expect it, perhaps with nuclear weapons targeting its underground facilities. The potential consequences are unthinkable.
On March 17, the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) said it cut services to Iranian financial institutions subject to EU sanctions. SWIFT serves as a financial and communication clearing system most major global banks use.
Iran no longer may transfer funds to or from other worldwide banks conventionally. Henceforth, its trade must be conducted other ways, including how it sells oil. It accounts for 80% of Tehran’s exports and half of government revenues.
Iran’s able to circumvent Washington through China, Russia, India, and other nations eager to do business. They oppose policies harming their own interests. So do Brazil, South Africa, and others globally. One day perhaps most will.
On July 1, an imposed oil embargo becomes effective. It includes crude oil, petroleum and petrochemical products, oil related business, equipment and technology, selling Tehran refined products, new investments, and dealing with Iran’s central bank.
So far it hasn’t worked and won’t. Major Iranian customers and allies won’t comply. They include China, Russia, India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, and others.
In addition, Washington exempted 11 countries, including Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.
By imposing its own sanctions, EU nations shot themselves in the foot. Europe buys 20% of its oil from Iran. Its valued high quality won’t easily be replaced. No combination of Gulf states can do it, including Saudi Arabia. Nor can heavy oil suppliers. European refineries can’t handle it without costly upgrades.
Moreover, targeting Iranian oil exports sent US WTI crude up to $103 a barrel and European brent to $123 as of March 30 closing prices. Increased tensions may head it much higher. Independent analysts agree. Whoever planned this scheme should be fired. Iran’s beating Washington and EU nations at their own game.
On March 30, a White House statement said:
“Today the President made the determination required under Section 1245(d)(4)(B) and (C) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 regarding the supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran.”
Section 1245 designates Iran’s financial sector a primary money laundering concern. Doing so codifies an earlier U.S. Treasury Department ruling.
As a result, Obama’s authorized to freeze, seize, “block and prohibit all transactions in all property and interests in property of….Iranian financial institution(s) if such property and interests in property are in the United States, come within the United States, or are or come within the possession or control of the United States.”
He may also impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions, engaging in certain transactions with Iran’s Central Bank and other Iranian financial institutions named by the Treasury Secretary to be included in the Department’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (its SDN List).
On March 30, The New York Times headlined, “Obama Finds Oil in Markets Is Sufficient to Sideline Iran,” saying:
“After careful analysis,” Obama claims enough world oil around to make up for reduced Iranian exports. He lied. Nothing he says is credible, including about an alleged Iranian nuclear threat. Political Washington knows none whatever exists or that replacing Iran’s oil is possible.
America may affect perceptions but not reality. Iran’s oil exports won’t be affected enough to matter. Either way, other nations can’t compensate for more than small amounts lost.
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