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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Meanwhile, in Tehran...

The Iranians seem ready to thumb their noses at any Western economic sanctions over Iranian nukes:
Tehran, 8 August (AKI) - by Ahmad Rafat - Iran has practically rejected a UN security council resolution threatening economic sanctions if it fails to suspend uranium enrichment by 31 August. And as a document obtained by Adnkronos International (AKI) suggests, Iran means to show how much the West has to loose [sic] if a boycott is imposed.

The 11-page document prepared by authorities in Tehran offers an analysis of Iran's economic relations with Western countries using data from Iran's central bank, the Bank Markazi. The document rethorically poses as its main question: "who will have the courage to boycott the Islamic Republic?"

Europe would lose some 13 billion euros in exports and 10 billion in imports a year, mainly in gas and petrol, the document estimates.

As far as Italy, Iran's main commercial partner in Europe is concerned, cutting ties with Iran would bring a loss amounting to two annual budgets, a fact recognised recently by Italian foreign minister Massimo D'Alema.

Relations between the Islamic Republic and the West however are not limited to commercial exchanges.

Iran has debts worth 27 billion dollars with European banks. Moreover, the Iranian government has 25 billion dollars deposited in banks in Europe which could be withdrawn any time soon, causing significant debts.

Ten major oil companies including Italy's ENI have invested 15 billion dollars in South Pars, the world's largest gas field in the Persian Gulf off Iran. China has signed investment accords in the energy sector worth 25 billion dollars.

Finally, the document talks about the 'oil weapon'. Today 40 oil companies, including three from Italy, import every day 2.5 million barrels of crude oil. Japan, with its 541,000 barrels imported each day, would be the hardest hit.

The economy of South Korea, whose exports to Iran in the past three years totalled 26 billion dollars, would be hugely damaged by a boycott on Tehran.

Overall, experts who drafted the document eestimated that were Iran to stop exporting crude oil and gas, the price of oil a barrel would amount to a minimum of 100 dollars but could reach 125 dollars.

Nothing would benefit the Western world more than $125/barrel oil. If that would happen, alternate fuels would become instantly affordable in comparison, which would help stop the petrodollar-fueled terror threat, as well as reduce pollution.

And Iran would stand to lose far more from sanctions than the West.

But shortsightedness will rule the day, as usual, and when Iran has the bomb there will be very little pleasure in "I told you so"s.