As the United States announced Thursday new sanctions against three Iranian banks and also on the mighty and powerful Revolutionary Guards, Mr. Jahanshah Rashidian, an Iranian political activist and commentator suggested the international community considering boycotting Iranian oil, the biggest source of income of the Iranian theocracy.
Some analysts of Iranian opposition believe that oil, instead of military attack would be an effective weapon, both for the West and Iranian people, to confront the plague of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran holds 11% of the world’s oil reserves. Government revenue of oil is 70%. A great proportion of this national revenue is not invested to improve the cause of people, but is mainly set aside to finance the repressive organs and internal security services of the Mollahs’ regime. In short, oil income does not play an important role to improve national economy, rate of inflation, and unemployment increases while line of poverty sinks.
Some analysts of Iranian opposition believe that oil, instead of military attack would be an effective weapon
The IRI is precarious, unpopular mollahs hold onto power by all means of repression. If the oil revenue were suddenly to drop, the repressive regime would lose its steady income and would have serious problems to invest its repressive machine to repress domestic population and finance international terrorism.
Mollahs do not care about the extraction of Iranian oil wealth and hike the production — the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to which Iran belongs, agreed to hike output by 500,000 barrels per day from the next November.
Mollahs know the risk of an international oil sanctions; they try to use the relatively expensive oil price, a barrel for 84 dollars, to export as much as possible. They are buying oil tankers from South Korea to increase their transport fleet and consequently oil transportation capacity to 11 million tons by 2010 which would put it at fourth position in the world.–the IRI will also increase its gas production over 80 million tons of liquefied gas par annum, according to National Iranian tanker Co (NITC).
We know that interconnected global economies vitally depend on oil. The industrialised world, especially the US, is the main consumers of fuel. Despite the deep economical interconnections, they are not always in harmony; the EU because of its intensive trade with Iran is not opposed to hard sanctions on the IRI.
The EU remained cooperative with Iran after the Iranian revolution. The EU’s share of Iran’s total imports increased to 45%. EU trade with Iran has even expanded since Iran’s secret nuclear programme was exposed. The EU imports 40% Iran’s oil—the rest goes to Japan, China and other Asian countries.
Oil is the most important source of income for the Iranian theocracy
Under such economic considerations, the perspective of non-economical factors, IRI’s sponsored terrorism and nuclear programme did not seem to play an important role for the EU. European firms which supplied Saddam’s machine war, especially chemical weapons which were used against both Iranian troops and civilian Iraqi Kurds, went into trade with both countries after the war to rebuild the damaged infrastructures.
Because of IRI’s nuclear ambitions, the U.N. Security Council has previously passed two sanctions resolutions against Iran for failing to halt uranium enrichment. The West and IRI’s friends, China and Russia offered a package of civil nuclear and, economic incentives if the Mollahs suspend the enrichment, but the regime stubbornly continues its atom ambition and very likely plans to build the bomb for its military ambitions.
Now, we stand before new UN and, separate, EU sanctions against the IRI, and this time it seems more serious for Mollahs. The EU seems to approach US policy vis-a-vis Iran. It is likely that new sanctions will be more serious and from now on oil seems to play an important role in the regime sanctions.
Although Iran is the world’s fourth-largest crude oil exporter, it lacks refining capacity to meet domestic demand for gasoline. Rationing was introduced in an effort to curb consumption and cut the rising cost of importing fuel.
In the light of international oil sanctions on Iranian, India has already shown ready to join the West, India imports Iranian crude oil and after refining it exports it to Iran. By avoiding the trade, India can play a curtail factor to paralyse Mullahs’ regime.
Although Iran is the world’s fourth-largest crude oil exporter, it lacks refining capacity to meet domestic demand
According to Iran’s Oil Ministry, the country needs to import up to 15 million litres of gasoline a day for domestic consume. Before rationing was imposed, the domestic consume was estimated 75 million litres a day of gasoline, of which about 36 million was imported. Since June, consumption has dropped to a little more than 60 million litres day, Iranian officials have said. In the case of gasoline sanctions Iran’s domestic consummation can be hardly affected.
Germany which is the European partner number one with the IRI seems to approach French position to join US / UK ones towards Iran. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, told recently German daily Die Welt (a conservative German newspaper) “the Islamic Republic threatened the whole world and had to be contained”. She continued “I am emphatically in favour of solving the problem through negotiations, but we also need to be ready to impose further sanctions if Iran does not give ground”.
Oil sanction, as a new weapon can render the IRI more vulnerable. At the same time a lack of resource in the hand of the Mollahs to finance their repressive organs and would also be a fair occasion for Iranian people to challenge the plague of the IRI, some Iranian analysts believe. ENDS OIL SANCTIONS 251007
Editor’s note: Mr. Rashidian is an Iranian human rights campaigner living in Germany. He contributes to some blogs and Iranian internet publications, including IPS.
The comments he expresses in this article are his views.