Who needs a sitcom for a good laugh when there are President Obama’s speeches with regards to Iran for us to enjoy. Of course, the US frustration due to their failure in ensuring that all countries acknowledge them as the godfather of the world, means that the US can be significantly perilous to the collective backsides of their targeted nations; but isn’t there good humour to be extracted from Obama’s dialectical chaos? He is relentlessly trying to cover up the fact that there are no double standards involved in this nuclear proliferation debate, even though the treaty is as skewed as a windup clock that stops functioning at midnight. In this latest agonisingly hilarious episode, Washington has upped the ante – for the umpteen millionth time – on its sanctions on Tehran’s nuclear programme, with the former adamant on their stance of “you know you’re making a nuclear bomb” and the latter adamant on their stance of “you’ve got to be kidding me!” Oh and the US has stressed that these latest sanctions would be the “toughest to date,” – I mean you could imagine Mahmoud Ahmadinijad sitting in his lounge with his feet up, watching this newsbreak and shaking his head with a smirk on his face.
Friday’s decision declares that global oil markets could still get sufficient supply even if a huge share of the Iranian oil pie – which is around 2.3 million barrels a day – is removed from the equation. This would be the dagger in the Iranian exchequer and would force Iran into abandoning their uranium enrichment programme. Well, at least this is how Washington’s rose-tinted glasses see it unfolding. In the real world, where logic – and self-interest – governs most matters, it is hard to see nations going with Washington’s “because I say so” orders in lieu of their own interests.
This move would allow Washington to sanction foreign banks that are involved in the fund-transfer apropos Iranian oil. And that in turn would force these countries to wave the Iranian oil goodbye or be ready to face the US ‘wrath’. Washington is trying to isolate Iran’s central bank, which is responsible for processing nearly all of the Iranian oil purchases from the global economy. And while there are countries like South Korea who’d ostensibly be agreeing on shunning the biggest source of quenching its gargantuan oil needs, there are the likes of China as well that is paying no heed to the relentless American clamour. While the White House acknowledges the “tightness” in the oil market, it has apparently thrown all the permutations, combinations, probability formulae, and mathematical equations into the drawing board before coming up with this decision. A White House statement on Friday stated, that the determination had been made “taking into account current estimates of demand, increased production by some countries, private inventories of crude oil and petroleum products, and available strategic petroleum reserves.” In simple words, even if there is a significant dent in oil fulfillment for nations that would be abandoning Iranian oil, they’d be wrong because the White House drawing board would suggest other wise. Congress’ decision in December meant that Obama needed to come up with the final decision by March 30 – and also after every six months then onwards. And surprise, surprise! Obama decides on taking the sanctions up a few notches. The US has vowed to increase its oil supply and lower the prices to control the soaring oil prices, and it is getting over the top support from the Saudis in this quest as well. The EU embargo, which was agreed upon in January takes effect in July, and these latest sanctions would be implemented in June. And while on the surface things seems like going according to the plan for the American hierarchy, maybe, just maybe when the allies begin locating holes in their wallets, the sanctions would end up falling flat on their head.
The writer is Sub-Editor Pakistan Today. He can be reached at [email protected]