Iran: a quickly evolving geopolitical imbroglio – part X
By End the Lie
As unfortunate as it is, I have no choice but to continue this series covering the grim situation unfolding in the Middle East which very possibly could be the spark that lights the greater world ablaze.
This was highlighted in the Chinese Global Times today in the article “China faces tough call in Iran showdown” in which they make it clear that the Western-Iranian showdown could indeed become a Western-Chinese confrontation, and I would argue that this might grow into a Western showdown with both China and Russia as well.
They do not seem to believe that the United States will jump into a new war, highlighting the fact that, “The cash-strapped West has many concerns about starting another war at this time.”
Yet they do say that there is the real possibility of the United States opting to “make risky moves at some key time in order to prevent China from acquiring oil from Iran.”
I do not think the possibility of the US going after China simply for continuing to buy Iranian oil is very likely, given that it could easily spark off a greater trade war which would hurt the already crippled American economy in ways which are nearly impossible to project.
If China struck back by blocking all exports to the United States, the price of goods in America which were cheap before could become wildly expensive, thus throwing the floundering economy into a tailspin.
However, the Global Times article also brings up a matter which I find to be a much more realistic possibility for a showdown between the West and China: China “opposing external forces to change a country’s regime [specifically Iran in this case], particularly with threats of war.”
Indeed that is exactly what the West is trying to do, as evidenced by their insistence on going after Iran even after the United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had to admit that Iran is not, in fact, pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
It has become quite obvious to me – and likely to all of my readers as well – that the West will not stop until there is a radical change, either with Iran abandoning their peaceful nuclear program entirely or with a regime change.
The Global Times writes, “China cannot stay aloof from the affair” because of China’s heavy reliance on Iranian oil. Seeing as China has a massive domestic demand, I doubt that they can risk losing 10 percent of their oil imports and thus will not consider ceasing to buy Iranian oil just because the West says they should.
The Global Times article also suggests that China should speed up the process of erecting a temporary alliance with nations in South and East Asia in order to continue purchasing oil from Iran in the face of Western sanctions.
They write “Such an alliance is possible,” and indeed I think that is quite true given the strong reluctance of many countries to sanction Iran along with the United States and European Union.
Interestingly, as I pointed out in the last installment of this series, some of the countries opposing the Western sanctions on Iranian oil are in fact the West’s strongest allies in the region, including Japan and India.
To find out more about this complex relationship evolving in the region, which includes multilateral ties between the United States, Japan, and India, I highly recommend you read my “U.S. and NATO are on the march worldwide” series.
It will be interesting if the United States takes the wildly hypocritical position of supporting Japan and India while condemning China for continuing to import oil from Iran.
The Global Times warns, “China should be well prepared for the situation to escalate. When its rights are unfairly stepped upon, due countermeasures should be in place.”
I sincerely hope this is not the case, as this could be the beginnings of this conflict turning into a truly global conflict.
It appears that the United States is already preparing for the worst, very possibly because they know that the likelihood of a confrontation is only getting greater as the days go by.
This is highlighted by the third carrier group being deployed to the Persian Gulf region by the United States.
According to Naval Today and Interfax, this carrier group is to include a guided missile cruiser along with three guided missile destroyers, on top of a massive aircraft carrier.
While the United States already has a pronounced naval presence in the Persian Gulf with the USS Abraham Lincoln entering the body via the critical Strait of Hormuz back on January 22 along with two destroyers belonging to the US Navy, a guided missile cruiser, along with a British and French warship, the third deployment is highly unusual.
Unsurprisingly, they billed this as routine, but three carrier strike groups in one location is far from standard operating procedure.
Currently the USS Carl Vinson is located east of the Strait of Hormuz, the small area which Iran has threatened to close, thus cutting off a great deal of the world’s oil supply – a move which the United States seems unwilling to tolerate.
To say what will happen at such an early stage would be pure speculation, and likely premature at that. However, we must take note of the buildup in the region which I have been heavily documenting throughout this series.
The recent move to refurbish and deploy the USS Ponce as a floating commando mothership, likely to be used in the Persian Gulf, is also highly noteworthy as it shows there are clear plans to escalate this conflict beyond what we are currently seeing.
There is also the matter of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and their official visit to Iran, a visit which could greatly impact how this situation unfolds in the near future.
The IAEA’s visit, which began yesterday, is already highly charged with Iran announcing that they will be postponing the parliamentary debate on the possibility of blocking all crude oil sales to the European Union while still announcing, “Soon we will cut exporting oil to some countries.”
The Iranian oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, made this strong statement, as reported by the Iranian state news agency, IRNA, while not getting specific about which countries he was hinting at by saying “some.”
I believe it is likely the case that Qasemi was hinting at the European Union given the recent embargo which would halt all importation of Iranian crude oil starting July 1, however, the fact that they suspended the parliamentary debate on the bill which would do just that is a bit confusing.
As I previously reported, it was being said that the bill was going to be brought up for debate quite soon, yet Emad Hosseini, the spokesman for the Iranian parliament’s Energy Committee gave a very different impression to the Mehr news agency.
“No such draft bill has yet been drawn up and nothing has been submitted to the parliament. What exists is a notion by the deputies which is being seriously pursued to bring it to a conclusive end,” Hosseni said.
Iran seems to be staying strong in the face of the sanctions, something which is to be expected given that earlier this month the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Iran has had “eye-catching successes” in spite of the sanctions.
However, this was long before the European Union put a new round of sanctions in place, although it is likely the case that the full impact of those sanctions will not be felt until July 1 or after.
That is, unless Iran decides to immediately halt all exports, completely crushing the small window that the struggling economies of European nations have to find different suppliers and adapt to the change, which might hurt Iran to some extent but it would also deal a strong blow to the EU as well.
Some in Iran seem to be quite confident in their current position and what the future might hold, I might argue that in some cases, unrealistically so.
For instance, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdasta, the commander of the Iranian army’s ground forces, stated that the United States and allied nations are “fearful of the Iranian forces and nation.”
Of course this might be idle boasting, but considered in conjunction with the statements surrounding the capabilities of Iranian submarines and how the West is supposedly gravely underestimating them, it makes Iran seem a tad antagonistic in this situation.
Then again, I can understand why they would take such an approach in an attempt to dissuade the West from attacking them and likely dealing a crippling strike to their nation’s infrastructure and economy.
They have a right to be worried given the saber rattling coming from the United States and Israel, highlighted by Panetta nonsensically contradicting himself on the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program.
I should point out, however, that he did not completely contradict himself, indeed he chose highly ambiguous language in order to do just that while still allowing for sensationalistic and alarmist headlines like “Panetta: Iran is one year away from producing nuclear weapon” coming out of Israel’s Haaretz.
When one actually reads the whole quote from his appearance on the CBS program “60 Minutes” it becomes quite clear that he is once again revealing the fact that Iran is not actually pursuing a nuclear weapon.
Panetta stated that “the consensus is that, if they decided to do it, it would probably take them about a year to be able to produce a bomb and then possibly another one to two years in order to put it on a deliverable vehicle of some sort in order to deliver that weapon.”
Of course the key aspect of this statement is “if they decided to do it,” which clearly indicates that they have not actually decided to do it and thus are not developing a nuclear weapon, contrary to the impression you might get from the talking heads in the establishment media or the clueless politicians in the Republican primary field.
As the statement from Panetta highlights, they are not developing a nuclear bomb and thus are not in violation of anything at all, meaning that the West has no right to continue to exert pressure on them for pursuing the same exact technology as other developed nations.
The continued propaganda assault on Iran in the Western media is almost farcical to the point of hilarity, if it was not the case that so many are taking it seriously despite the irrefutable statements of Panetta.
It seems that many people are so convinced that Iran has a nuclear weapon or is developing one that they refuse to listen to facts and ultimately will never be convinced that they could ever be incorrect.
This is why I am worried that the IAEA’s visit will not bring about anything positive, since the IAEA, part of the globalist, anti-sovereignty, and unaccountable United Nations, has been pressured by the West to produce what Russia called a politicized report back in November.
At the time the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that “The authors [of the IAEA report] juggle the facts to create the impression that Iran’s nuclear program has a military component,” something which they say can “hardly be called professional and unbiased,” adding that this report might be leading towards “a dangerous confrontation.”
If the IAEA takes a similar unprofessional approach to their inspections during this visit, I expect things to only go from bad to worse.
The Iranians seem well aware of this, as highlighted by Iran’s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, saying that the IAEA needs to conduct a “logical, professional and technical” job during their visit, or suffer the consequences.
He said if the IAEA turns into another tool for the West to put pressure on Iran (something which I would argue is already going on), “Iran will have no choice but to consider a new framework in its ties with the agency.”
However, Larijani wouldn’t get more specific than that, leaving a lot of questions unanswered, just like cutting the oil exports to “some” countries does.
As always I must emphasize that I hope above all that I am completely wrong and none of this will boil over into a violent confrontation.
I will be continuing to monitor the situation and bring you these reports as best I can. If you have any comments, tips or insight to share, please e-mail me immediately at: [email protected] so I can integrate it in an upcoming installment of this series.
Previous installments of this series: