Iran Goes All In

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While Iran has a huge amount of crude oil reserves in its rich fields, its ability to tap those reserves is steadily declining. According to CSIS, Iran is losing between 400,000 barrels per day to 700,000 barrels per day in crude production as its oil fields mature. There’s still plenty of oil down there, but Iran lacks the technology to engage in the sort of enhanced oil recovery practices that more advanced nations use to coax stubborn crude out of the ground. Absent the assistance of the West, Russia or China, oil export revenues could soon disappear. According to the CSIS report:

A 2007 National Academy of Sciences study reports that if decline rates are allowed to continue, Iran’s exports, which in 2007 averaged 2.4 million bbl/d could decrease to zero by 2015. To offset natural decline rates, Iran’s oil fields require structural upgrades including enhanced oil recovery (EOR) efforts such as natural gas injection.

Gasoline is Iran’s other Achilles’ heel. The Islamic Republic is desperately trying to increase its internal refining capacity, with good reason: Iran is much too heavily dependent on outside sources to supply the gas needed to keep its economy stumbling along. From the CSIS report:

Iran’s oil consumption was approximately 1.7 million bbl/d in 2007. Iran has limited refinery capacity for the production of light fuels, and consequently imports much of its gasoline supply. Iranian domestic oil demand is mainly for gasoline and diesel. Tehran imports about 40 percent of its gasoline.

Thus, if the civilized powers – and especially Europe – were to cut off Iran’s access to Western technology and to refined products, the regime in Tehran would be in real trouble. The combination of a loss in oil revenues and a transportation crisis would throw the already troubled Iranian economy into chaos. It might be enough to tip the balance in favor of the millions of Iranians who are already unhappy with the theocratic, reactionary regime ruling their nation. Sanctions could make a real difference in Iran, if the West somehow could find the will and the self-discipline to impose them in earnest.

If it all comes down to the military option, and it seems that the Iranian problem inevitably must come down to that, then there are only two nations in the world with the power and the will to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Israel could do it, but the political price it would have to pay to do so would be tremendously expensive. An Israeli strike would anger its neighbors, depending on the route it choose, potentially including erstwhile friends – or at least political acquaintances – like Jordan and Turkey. Iran would certainly unleash Hezbollah and Hamas into full insurrection mode and – at best – the stability of the Middle East would continue to erode for many years to come.

That leaves the United States. The United States alone has the capability to penetrate Iranian airspace at will at minimal political cost to deliver wave upon wave of precision-guided bunker-busting munitions that would reduce critical elements of Iran’s nuclear program to smoking holes in the ground. B-2 bombers staged out of Diego Garcia need not violate the airspace of any sovereign nation other than Iran, thus avoiding the public-relations quagmire that Israel would face if it staged the raids. Our erstwhile allies in the region, nations like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, wouldn’t have to lift a finger to cooperate with us, nor would they have to express outrage, because we would not need to trample their lawns. They could instead quietly breathe a sigh of relief because Uncle Sam would have once again eliminated a grave threat infesting their portion of the globe.

The mission of the P5+1 nations in Geneva is clear: to convince Iran in no uncertain terms the that mullahs will face economic hell if they refuse to comply with the West’s demands. And, as important, it must be made abundantly clear that even if sanctions should fail, the United States has the ability and the will to end Iran’s nuclear ambitions once and for all. It is unfortunately doubtful whether the current dithering president of the United States has the backbone to draw such a line in the stand. Still, there is hope. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron appear to be made of sterner stuff. Perhaps they can fill the vacuum and provide the kind of leadership that Barack Obama is unwilling or unable to supply.

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  • Farhad

    Hi
    Iran is standing there bear-handed to welcome your attacks???!!! If they have decided to go nuke , they have prepared to defend it as well. THe only way to go by Iran is to recognize it as a nuke state and make the necessary arrangement to embrace that country. U.S will not find a better friend than Iran in the world. See the Arabs how they are betraying U.S by funding Al-Qaeda while at the same time benefitting from U.S stupidity.

    • http://www.intellectualconservative.com Steven Laib

      Iran, which calls the United States the "great satan" and funds the shia terrorist group that the Saudis don't. Iran has imperialistic ambitions. It only accepts "friends" that it can use, or that it benefits from in the short term. Eventually China will have to deal with them if no one else does first. China is their helper right now, because it is in China's best interest to use them as a surrogate agains the rest of the world. But Iran will eventually become a danger to China as well as the rest of the region.

      Beware of people with messianic complexes and political power.

    • Matt

      "U.S will not find a better friend than Iran in the world"
      Under what rock have you just crawled from? Iran is under the control of fundamentist psychopaths hell bent on hastening the return of the 12th imam & who have stated publicly & often that their goal is the destruction of Israel, The USA & western civilization in general.
      You would'nt be practicing Taqiyya by any chance?

  • Matty

    The suggested solution of obstruction and delay may seem rosy if only looked at from an isolated perspective. While the Iranian nuclear program is being obstructed, other events worldwide or particularly on the Iranian side such as a technical breakthrough could change the circumstances. My judgment is that the Iranians, as they have announced as part of their 20-year plan, would like to have a nuclear program similar to that of Japan's. That is a peaceful program but ready to be weaponized if the republic is faced with sever threats.
    My thoughts: obstruction, delay, or physical intervention would not yield any profound result. In fact, this will further antagonize the republic. A fair regional management and engagement will gradually align Iranians with American interests. The current policies towards Iranian conundrum leads to a quagmire, in my perspective. At this point of history a respectful win-win situation should be perused. Also remember that other parties are benefitting from the current deadlock; therefore, a resolute will shall carry through an act of wisdom.

    • Chezwick_Mac

      MATTY: "A fair regional management and engagement will gradually align Iranians with American interests."

      RESPONSE: Pie-in-the-sky romanticism. Iran's Shia identity could make it a natural ally of the West against the Sunni Muslim world, but only in the event of an end to the mullah-ocracy. As things stand, the only "alignment" of American-Iranian interests possible is a US policy of abject appeasement.

      MATTY: "Also remember that other parties are benefitting from the current deadlock; therefore, a resolute will shall carry through an act of wisdom"

      RESPONSE: Might this be a cryptic reference to the Jewish state? Is Israel REALLY "benefiting" from the current deadlock?

      • Matty

        Realistically, Iran would not need to ally with the west against the Sunni Muslim world. Maybe you mean the Persian Gulf Arab states? Even in the case of Persian Gulf regional states, Iran already dominates with conventional methods. I really do not see a need for Iranians to take on the regional states in a company with the west. In fact, this would not be good for the US, for the Arab states, nor for Iran. You want to keep the region safe for it directly connects with the capital market. Actually, are we tempted much about getting physical?

        No, I did not try to encrypt my response. Please do not decipher. Since you were concern about Israel, yes it is logical for it to use the opportunity as well. The Jewish State has and will use the opportunity in cutting good deals over the latest American technology and aid. However, I really meant countries such as China, and Germany who have replaced other western states in their exports to Iran. Russia will also try to play Iran card with the US as in not delivering S300 defense systems to Iran in exchange of others, especially a seat on WTO.

  • Farhad

    Some times the wise approach is to cope with the realities on the ground and not try to alter it. Maybe it is the time for the U.S to adapt itself to the new rules and gradualy forget the days of monopoly. I think Iran and U.S will both arrrive in a good outcome of this battle soon or late. there are promising voices from inside Iran as well. Iran has come to the conclusion that its main enemies are Arabs and not the U.S . So in order to silence Arabs he has to come to terms with the U.S. Iran is waiting to see how U.S is outreaching to his legitimate demands.

  • suprkufrB

    Farhad:
    You just din't get it, do you? The most treacherous policy of Barak Hussein and Bush before him has been the failure of both to flatten iran back into the stone age. Iran makes no bones about it – its plan is to wipe every kufr from the face of the earth in order to establish a mind-numbing, backward stone age theocracy which would rule the world. We have every right to initiate preemptive action.

  • Farhad

    SuperkufrB
    So it is wise to coonvert to Islam to save yourself. Ha Ha Ha

  • SHmuelHaLevi

    Presently and in spite of a rather bothersome forest fire likely to have been started by islamic saboteurs, we are confident that Iran is on its way to meet a super worm that will not just drive their rather primitive 1470 RPS centrifugues into mechanical shock and self destruction. Iran will not be allowed to become a military nuclear power. They may assemble and arm a couple of nuclear devices, but that will be the last thing they will observe. No physical intervention needed…

  • DogWithoutSlippers

    Only Atomics will stop them!

  • USMCSniper

    Oh my, Farhad sounds like one of those Dhimmi "Useful Idiots" of Islam that doesn't realize that they don't want to be tolerant, they don't want allies, they don't want to assimilate, they want to change America to conform to Islam and Sharia law. Or maybe you just want no conflict and the alligator to eat you last. Muck the Fuzzlims! Kill 'em all, wrap 'em in their prayer rugs and put 'em all in piles, burn 'em all using pork grease for a starter, and let Allah sort 'em out. Oh deaaaarrr, I am just awful.

  • Matt

    The most prominent threat to world peace is ISLAM, a theology that at its core requires Israel’s destruction. The crux of the problem lies in the ambiguous manner in which too many western countries are reacting to this situation. ANY criticism of Islam is seen as bigotry & labeled as Islamophobia, As such, the west has failed to rationally respond to this growing threat to our democratic values. The truth is that Islam is intolerant, aggressively competitive, violent to the point of being barbaric & invented by a murderous psychopath who is viewed as the standard by which all men are to be judged. Talk about setting the bar low!
    “O Ye who believe! Murder those of the unbelievers…and let them find harshness in you.” [Koran, Repentance: 123]
    In simple terms, Islam has never & will never bring peace to any region of the world & the west is at war with Islam.

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