US Passes Strong Sanctions Against Iran
Machinehead: Big +1, hat-tip, and thank you for the continuing coverage on this. Amazing that I have to go not only to the blogosphere, but also to a specific thread within a certain site, to get coverage on this. When are you launching the machinehead news network?
About one thing you just said:
[quote=machinehead]India is no more going to tolerate the US cutting off its petroleum imports from Iran, than the US would put up with India ordering it to cut the pipelines from Canada.[/quote]
I’m not sure I agree with the characterization or the comparison. The US isn’t ordering anybody not to do business with Iran. It’s simply saying if you do, you’re also cutting yourself off from US markets and the US financial system. The equivalent comparison, if there is one, would be for India to tell the US that if it continues to trade with Canada, then India’s market would be closed to the US. Not a big threat, or equivalent to what we’re seeing to be sure. “Yaaawwwwwn”, I think, would be the appropriate response from America. The reason there probably is no comparison is because no market is to the US what the US market is to just about every country in the world.
In any case, please keep up the great work!
China objects to US ‘add-on’ sanctions:
Meanwhile, the day before meeting with an Iranian delegation, India is shut down by a strike against its decision to raise subsidized fuel prices — a decision very likely linked with India’s tightened supply outlook from Iran:
Transport and businesses across India were severely disrupted on Monday by a dawn-to-dusk strike called by opposition parties to protest against the government’s decision to raise fuel prices, the FT reported. The government has insisted that it will stand firm, saying India can no longer afford the huge cost of keeping domestic fuel prices below world market levels.
The US sanctions against Iran’s petroleum supply and petroleum projects put it on a collision course with the Asian growth giants, India and China. As one of the world’s largest energy and capital-importing nations, the US is no position to pick such fights over a matter that doesn’t directly concern it.
Arrogant Yankee meddling, coupled with the ‘all hat no cattle’ state of America’s hollowed-out economy, is going to come a cropper.
Occupied Europe (65 years under the watchful eye of U.S. military bases on its soil) dances to Uncle Sam’s tune:
The European Union says it has banned most of Iran Air’s planes from flying in its airspace Tuesday because of safety concerns.
An EU spokeswoman says no other factors influenced the decision.
The 27-member bloc says it is blacklisting Iran Air’s Boeing 727s, 747s and Airbus A320s in response to an EU safety audit of the aircraft. The blacklisted planes represent two-thirds of Iran Air’s fleet.
Iran Air has had trouble maintaining its aging Boeing jets purchased in the 1970s due to a three-decade U.S. ban on selling spare aircraft parts to the Islamic state.
So what does the U.S. embargo on Boeing spare parts have to do with European-made A320s? Nothing, obviously.
One wonders whether this wealthy but politically immature and dependent subcontinent will ever grow up and assert its sovereignty.
Not while it cowers under U.S. gunpoint …
“The United States Has No Business Dictating To Any Country In The Middle East What They Should Or Shouldn’t Be Doing.”
Unusually, even the CFR has posted an interview with its Senior Fellow Meghan O’Sullivan, suggesting that the US Iranian sanctions are a bad idea:
The sanctions bill just passed by Congress and signed by President Obama … was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, but it contains what we call secondary sanctions, or extra-territorial sanctions. These sanctions are ones that the United States imposes not on Iranian companies, but on the companies or entities in third countries for doing business with Iran that the United States thinks helps the regime.
In the past, these kinds of sanctions were viewed very negatively by our allies and others, who perceived them as efforts by the United States to use its economic strength to achieve what it couldn’t convince others through diplomacy to do. In reality, they were so controversial that every president–Clinton, Bush, and Obama–has waived them rather than impose them. They have quite literally never been used. My guess is today that these sanctions will evoke a strong international reaction, given that President Obama will be under greater pressure by Congress not to waive them, but also because many countries have worked closely with the United States in putting together the latest packages. They will particularly sting in the EU, where the EU has really rolled out a meaningful additional set of sanctions.
Ms. O’Sullivan doesn’t neglect the potential negative consequences on the oil market, either:
One certainty about which there should be greater awareness is that the sanctions will have an adverse impact on global energy security in the coming decade. While the immediate impact of sanctions can be sometimes hard to discern, sanctions–U.S. and international–have and will slow down the development of Iran’s oil and gas reserves. Even if the Chinese come in and take these contracts, as some fear, they are unlikely to develop Iranian resources in a way that maximizes global energy security. Depending on the strength of the global economy, it is possible that the United States and others will look at the skyrocketing price of oil in the coming years and wish that Iran’s resources had been developed, perhaps within certain constraints, but brought on line nonetheless.
In polite terms, the CFR is telling the mercenary KongressKlowns who passed these ‘piled on’ sanctions, and the president who signed them, ‘YOU SCREWED UP BIG TIME!’
Meanwhile, in a provocative visit to Israel, one of the nastiest snake-oil peddlers in the war racket stirs the pot and rattles the saber, in his inimitable faux-patrician whine:
There is wide support in Congress for using all means to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power, “through diplomatic and economic sanctions if we possibly can, through military actions if we must,” visiting US Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said Wednesday in Jerusalem.
Lieberman, flanked at a Jerusalem press conference by his senate colleagues John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), used very tough language, saying the words “military action” in regards to stopping Iran’s nuclear program. Most US officials opt to tiptoe around the subject, saying “no options are off the table.”
Lieberman said that “a certain trumpet needs to sounded here for the Iranian regime to hear.”
He said the sanctions Congress recently passed against Iran were meant to signal to Teheran to “negotiate the end of their nuclear program and re-entry into the civilized world, if that is possible. But if not, they should know that when Congress says it is unacceptable to get nuclear weapons, we mean it. We hope economic and diplomatic power will work, but if we must use force, that must remain a very active option.”
‘War — HA HA — it’s a very active option for the little people!’
Alejandro Nadal, a Mexican economist, comments on the futility (and the real purpose) of the Iran sanctions:
In his History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides relates how Pericles, in the fifth century BC, imposed economic sanctions against the city of Megara, which had allied itself with Sparta. Athens prohibited trade with this city state and sent a message: if Megara did not break its alliance with Sparta, it would be punished. Megara was enraged and urged Sparta to unleash war. The resulting hostilities lasted for 30 years.
The history of economic and political sanctions to compel a country to change its conduct is long, but it teaches us that they frequently result in failure. Not only do they fail to change the conduct of the sanctioned states, but they invariably lead to war.
The Security Council voted last week for a set of sanctions against Tehran. It’s another step toward confrontation in the course of the myopic foreign policy of the United States vis-à-vis Tehran.
For Washington, the sanctions are part of what it takes to “contain” Tehran. According to that logic, they are a link in a chain of sequence from diplomatic pressure to war. That is to say, Obama maintains the same old rigid priorities that have ruled Washington since the triumph of the Islamic Revolution 30 years ago. The objective continues to be regime change, and the threat is preventive war.
For Tehran, this threat is real. Its two neighbors to the east and west are subjected to an invasion by US troops. It also finds itself surrounded by nuclear weapons powers. Among those powers is Israel, a country that has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and that today has 200 nuclear warheads ready for use.
In 1941, the United States imposed an oil embargo on Japan to stop its expansionism in China. That measure laid a siege that Tokyo considered intolerable and led it to make war against the United States. It is said that Japanese expansionism was uncontainable in any case. Perhaps, but it is also true that Washington knew very well what it was doing and the sanctions were a prelude to a war desired by the United States. That is precisely the logic behind the madness of the latest sanctions against Iran. The sanctions are the means to prepare for confrontation and war.
Alejandro Nadal is an economist in Mexico. The original article“Sanciones contra Irán y la próxima guerra” [‘Sanctions against Iran and the next war’] was published by La Jornada on 16 June 2010. Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.
The front page story in today’s print New York Times is about sanction-busting fuel exports to Iran from … wait for it … Iraq. Specifically, from Kurdistan in northern Iraq. Who would have thought our Iraqi brothers would stoop to this?
PENJWIN, Iraq — Even as the United States imposes new sanctions on Iran, one of the biggest gaps in the American strategy is on full display here in Iraq, where hundreds of millions of dollars in crude oil and refined products are smuggled over the scenic mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan every year.
Day after day, without formal authorization from Baghdad, more than a thousand tankers snake through this town on Iraq’s border with Iran, not only undercutting recent American sanctions but also worsening tensions with the Iraqi government over how to divide the country’s oil profits.
A senior Kurdish government official said that the benefits from a business he described as “elaborate” and “huge” went to the region’s two governing parties and affiliated companies, and that officials and politicians in Baghdad were involved as well.
After spending a trillion dollars on regime change in Iraq, is the U.S. now going to punish its Iraqi client state by cutting it off from the U.S. banking system, as the sanctions just signed by Obama demand?
Maybe the 506 KongressKlowns who voted for the extraterritorial sanctions should have taken a look at the map; maybe gotten out a bit more on their junkets, instead of palling around with the troops in the Green Zone mess hall for photo ops.
But they aren’t paid to think. Now the burden of reining in the independent-minded Kurds has passed from Saddam Hussein to Barack Hussein. ‘Meet the new boss,’ etc.
“Lookie there, sheeps! That’s oil — black gold — KURDISH TEA!”