Multiple rounds have been
held. Istanbul technical talks just concluded.
Breakthroughs haven't happened. How can they when Washington blocks
Nuclear talks are a subterfuge. Washington, European nations and Israel
know Iran's program is peaceful and legitimate.
Yet the charade continues. Effective July 1, harsh new sanctions were
imposed. They include an EU ban on Iranian oil imports and insurance
for tankers carrying its oil.
The London-based International Group of P&I (property and indemnity
insurance) Clubs covers about 95% of world tankers.
On June 28, Congress imposed harsh penalties on foreign companies trading
with Iran's central bank. They include blocking their access to America's
financial system and US banks.
Sanctions bite. To what degree is hard to determine precisely. Washington
claims they're working. Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi
dismissed them as futile, saying:
"The sanctions not only fail to impede the progress of the Iranian nation,
but they also lay the ground for self-sufficiency and development."
On June 30, Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said Tehran is fully prepared
to counter efforts to curtail its oil exports.
London-based Middle East Institute Director Hassan Hakimian says Iran's
economy is doing better than commonly believed. At the same time, it
remains to be seen what impact sanctions will have going forward.
Iran may find innovative ways of shielding itself from their worst effects,
he added. "Iran has been expecting (new) sanctions for quite a while,
so (it's) better prepared than most people might realize."
Enormous foreign reserves were accumulated. Estimates are around $150
billion or more. In addition, Iran has billions of dollars in gold.
Its ability to import shouldn't be underestimated. Its oil is highly
valued. Nations like China, India and others eagerly buy it. How oil
exports are impacted going forward bear watching.
True enough Iran's economy faces challenges. So do Western European
countries and America. Targeting Iran may backfire and harm them. Unintended
consequences sometimes happen.
In 2010, Ron Paul said Iranian sanctions are an act of war. In 1997,
the New England New England Journal of Medicine called economic sanctions
"a war against public health."
Sanctions constitute war by other means. Manipulated money power in
private hands used irresponsibly is financial war.
Former Indian diplomat Neelan Deo and Gateway House research and geoeconomics
fellow Akshay Mathur suggest BRICS countries may find creative ways
around Western sanctions. They use them to buy Iranian oil.
"India worked through banks in Europe, Dubai and Turkey before finally
using its own state-owned UCO Bank to pay its $10bn annual oil import
bill from Iran."
"Small banks hidden from the reach of the sanctions, like Russia’s First
Czech-Russian Bank, China’s Bank of Kunlun and Iran’s Saman Bank, are
The Iran Insurance Company and Chinese P&I aren't part of the London-based
International Group of P&I. India and China can pay in gold. Bilateral
currency swaps between the Iranian rial and renminbi, rupees and rubles
can circumvent dollars.
A multilateral BRICs bank was proposed. A new clearing union and insurance
club for international trade, finance, and transportation could supplement
So could new commodity exchanges to facilitate alternate ways of price
discovery and currency benchmarking. Indian commodity exchanges already
trade crude oil futures contracts. In 2008, Iran launched its own oil
BRICS countries have normal relations with Iran. Increasingly they're
asserting their rights. Ways around Washington's stranglehold exist.
Expect more ahead.
Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett say "America’s policy on Iran-related
secondary sanctions is on a collision course with itself as well as
China. Secondary sanctions violate the United States’ obligations under
the World Trade Organization and are, thus, illegal."
WTO members may curb trade with other nations for security reasons,
they say. However, imposing economic sanctions on business they conduct
with third countries has "no legal basis."
If affected nations challenge Washington in the WTO's Dispute Resolution
Mechanism, "the United States would almost certainly lose the case."
As a result, Iranian secondary sanctions may be "a house of cards" heading
for collapse. Washington assumes other states won't challenge its authority.
Doing so may end up shooting itself in the foot.
After multiple rounds, P5+1 talks approached dead end last month in
Moscow. Washington and Israel are obstructionist. Britain, France and
other Western states agree to policies harming their own interests.
They demand Iran relinquish rights enjoyed by dozens of other nations
with commercial nuclear programs. Doing so lacks legitimacy. Iran wants
its legal rights respected. It insists unjust sanctions end.
Washington's intransigence produced deadlock. Alleged concerns about
Iran's nuclear program is sham cover for longstanding regime change
Denying Tehran's right to produce nuclear power in accordance with NPT
provisions has no legitimacy. Iran's legal right to refuse looks like
pretext for war.
America's Middle East presence is menacing. Dozens of bases surround
Iran. A larger buildup is underway. Ostensibly it's to keep shipping
lanes open. In fact, it reflects hostile intent. Whether belligerence
follows remains to be seen.
Two aircraft carrier battle groups are in the Gulf. Minesweeper numbers
were doubled. Several squadrons of F-15s and F-22 stealth technology
aircraft are present. So are tens of thousands of combat troops.
The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is positioned in the Mediterranean
Sea nearby. It can target Iran and/or Syria.
According to German Rear Admiral Thorsten Kahler, its presence is "to
give a clear message to terrorists in the region that NATO is on duty."
"Terrorism is not dead and we have to make sure that the message of
NATO is understood. People and especially NATO are not willing to accept
terrorism coming to the Mediterranean. We have to publish that message
On Wednesday, Istanbul Iranian/P5+1 technical talks ended. Both sides
said more discussions will follow. No date was announced. Russia's Deputy
Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov put a brave face on what happened, saying:
"There are grounds to speak of certain progress." However, he added:
"I cannot say that we reached some sort of breakthrough or achieved
In fact, nothing ahead looks promising. Iran rejects unreasonable demands.
Washington blocks conflict resolution efforts.
Ousting independent Iranian and Syrian regimes is planned. Rule of law
principles don't matter. Embroiling the entire region in more war looms
likely. Only its timing remains unknown.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News
Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time
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