Obama’s War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
Washington’s war on Iran includes cyber attacks, other sabotage, targeted assassinations, deadly explosions, sophisticated satellite, drone, and other type spying, bogus accusations, a virtual blockade, hostile saber rattling, multiple rounds of sanctions, and attempts to cripple its central bank and oil industry.
Targeting its nuclear industry is a red herring. At issue is replacing an independent regime with a pro-Western one. All options are considered, including war. If others fail, expect it, perhaps with nuclear weapons targeting its underground facilities. The potential consequences are unthinkable.
On March 17, the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) said it cut services to Iranian financial institutions subject to EU sanctions. SWIFT serves as a financial and communication clearing system most major global banks use.
Iran no longer may transfer funds to or from other worldwide banks conventionally. Henceforth, its trade must be conducted other ways, including how it sells oil. It accounts for 80% of Tehran’s exports and half of government revenues.
Iran’s able to circumvent Washington through China, Russia, India, and other nations eager to do business. They oppose policies harming their own interests. So do Brazil, South Africa, and others globally. One day perhaps most will.
On July 1, an imposed oil embargo becomes effective. It includes crude oil, petroleum and petrochemical products, oil related business, equipment and technology, selling Tehran refined products, new investments, and dealing with Iran’s central bank.
So far it hasn’t worked and won’t. Major Iranian customers and allies won’t comply. They include China, Russia, India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, and others.
In addition, Washington exempted 11 countries, including Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.
By imposing its own sanctions, EU nations shot themselves in the foot. Europe buys 20% of its oil from Iran. Its valued high quality won’t easily be replaced. No combination of Gulf states can do it, including Saudi Arabia. Nor can heavy oil suppliers. European refineries can’t handle it without costly upgrades.
Moreover, targeting Iranian oil exports sent US WTI crude up to $103 a barrel and European brent to $123 as of March 30 closing prices. Increased tensions may head it much higher. Independent analysts agree. Whoever planned this scheme should be fired. Iran’s beating Washington and EU nations at their own game.
On March 30, a White House statement said:
“Today the President made the determination required under Section 1245(d)(4)(B) and (C) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 regarding the supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran.”
Section 1245 designates Iran’s financial sector a primary money laundering concern. Doing so codifies an earlier U.S. Treasury Department ruling.
As a result, Obama’s authorized to freeze, seize, “block and prohibit all transactions in all property and interests in property of….Iranian financial institution(s) if such property and interests in property are in the United States, come within the United States, or are or come within the possession or control of the United States.”
He may also impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions, engaging in certain transactions with Iran’s Central Bank and other Iranian financial institutions named by the Treasury Secretary to be included in the Department’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (its SDN List).
On March 30, The New York Times headlined, “Obama Finds Oil in Markets Is Sufficient to Sideline Iran,” saying:
“After careful analysis,” Obama claims enough world oil around to make up for reduced Iranian exports. He lied. Nothing he says is credible, including about an alleged Iranian nuclear threat. Political Washington knows none whatever exists or that replacing Iran’s oil is possible.
America may affect perceptions but not reality. Iran’s oil exports won’t be affected enough to matter. Either way, other nations can’t compensate for more than small amounts lost.
Nonetheless, Iranian oil importers were told they have until mid-year to find other sources or face “imposition of severe sanctions on their financial institutions,” according to sanctions law co-author Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
Scoundrel Media Support
Major US media scoundrels march in lockstep with Washington. Because of its global reach and influence, The New York Times has special weight. Serving as a voice for wealth and power, “All The News (it claims) Fit to Print” is best avoided to be well informed. The same goes for the Washington Post, another influential broadsheet.
The NY Times eXaminer (nyexaminer.com) serves as “An antidote to the ‘paper of record.’ ” It offers a valued service doing it.
On March 16, it headlined, “Contempt for International Law: A Survey of New York Times and Washington Post Editorials on Iran,” saying:
Both broadsheets regurgitate official lies, debase international and constitutional law, and betray their readers in the process.
A two-year analysis of their editorials on Iran’s nuclear program provides ample evidence. NY Times eXaminer covered the period March 16, 2010 through March 15, 2012.
The NYT had 18 editorials, the Post 22. How US and Israeli actions and threats spurn international law got no mention. One NYT and two Post editorials addressed the effect of sanctions on ordinary Iranians. Only power, not people, matter.
Iranian civilians’ views on imposed sanctions were ignored. One NYT and no Post editorial recognized Iran’s legal right to develop nuclear power like dozens of other countries worldwide. Except for North Korea, none face US sanctions, including known nuclear outlaws India, Pakistan and Israel.
All are nuclear armed and dangerous. The topic went unaddressed. In contrast, each paper supported US/UN sanctions in 17 editorials. The same number in both spuriously claimed Iran seeks nuclear weapons. Doing so ignores years of US intelligence and IAEA assessments, as well as Israel’s Mossad.
Both papers “go beyond simply ignoring the law,” the eXaminer said. They cheerlead Obama keeping “all options….on the table.” They include preemptive, aggressive, illegal war against a nonbelligerent country threatening no one.
Both papers know it, but support lawlessness anyway. The Post even criticized Obama for being soft. Neither broadsheet ever met a US war or planned one they didn’t wholeheartedly endorse.
They also favor Israel assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, and lie saying Iran violates international law. In fact, it’s nuclear program fully complies with NPT provisions.
In contrast, Washington long ago abandoned them. By spurning NPT, so did India, Pakistan, and Israel. They’re all nuclear outlaws. Not a word about noncompliance from either paper.
Both endorse wrong over right. Truth and full disclosure’s spurned. Legitimate journalism’s mocked. Readers are betrayed. No wonder years of circulation declines have both papers close to bankruptcy.
Contemptuous of the public’s right to know, they crossed that threshold long ago ethically, morally, and journalistically.
Like other major media scoundrels, managed news misinformation and suppressed truths substitute for what writers are supposed to do – their job.
Why else would growing numbers use independent, mainly online, sources for what corporate ones don’t provide. Maybe one day everyone will. It can’t happen soon enough.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also 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 and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.