The Last Chance to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Quest?

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


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The European Union’s embargo on Iranian oil went into effect on Sunday, July 1. Other countries cut back their imports. The regime admits it’s feeling the sting but is boisterously defiant. These sanctions are the toughest yet but they will only succeed in stopping Iran’s nuclear program if the regime’s very existence is threatened. The key question now is whether it is too late for sanctions to work.

The pain caused by these sanctions should not be dismissed. Estimates vary as to how much of the regime’s revenue comes from oil exports, with some saying its 50% and others putting it as high as 85%. No matter what the truth is, the Iranian economy was a shambles before these sanctions began. In 2010, the regime had to cut funding to Hezbollah by about 40% because of financial restraints. Plus, rising domestic consumption takes away from Iran’s oil exports more and more each year. Some studies forecast that Iran would have to cease all oil exports in order to accommodate its own oil needs by 2015.

Iran’s exports began collapsing immediately after the U.S. began planning sanctions on foreign companies involved in the regime’s oil trade. The regime is suffering from a 40% decline in oil exports already. Iran has already lost at least $10 billion as its output is at its lowest level in 20 years. Inflation is above 20% and the Iranian people are, unfortunately, under tremendous stress. “Little by little, even fruit is becoming a luxury,” said one shopkeeper in Tehran.

The Obama Administration is being criticized for issuing exemptions from sanctions to Iran’s top 20 oil buyers. However, in fairness, the “stick” of possible sanctions and “carrot” of possible exemptions forced these countries to reduce their purchases.

Japan received an exemption for cutting back its Iranian oil imports by 15-22%. Singapore, which only gets about 1% of its oil from Iran, was exempted but its imports are on a “very sharp downward trend.”  Turkey’s state-owned oil company, Tupras, reduced imports in May by 20%. The remaining buyers of Iranian oil are likely to sense this dependency and, with the strong hand at the negotiating table, demand price cuts.

This approach was less successful with China, India and South Korea. China, for example, cut its oil imports from Iran by about 50% earlier this year over a dispute over prices. Its level of imports has gone back to normal in the past three months. The six-month exemption means that China will be buying about 500,000 barrels of oil from Iran every single day until then. India only cut its imports by 11%. South Korea originally said it would end all imports of Iranian oil on July 1 because it couldn’t get insurance for its tankers. Iran is offering to use its own tankers to transport the supply and South Korea is considering it.

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  • Lillith

    ????????!

  • elihu

    Tilt!?

  • KKKK

    "confrontation is on the way" is 100% correct. the iranain rregime is short of moeny after oil exports were cut due to sanctions and currency is devauling. "even fruit is becoming a luxery" i NTehran? how sad. one can see the hardship the ordinary Iranians are experiencing. even basic food and other necesities are becoming too expensive and rare. if the Iranian regime strikes America and Israel and Saudi Arabian oil fields soon, then we're really in for a mess of a time. but there is still hope, as i have ntoed elsewhere.

  • stern

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but basically, you took the time to write a post telling us that you're not very bright? May I ask why?

  • Flowerknife_us

    Politically-Iran cannot afford to take the first shot. Better for them to be seen defending themselves by firing off all they have. Make a big show of it and let the Press win the war for them. The Enterprise-on Her last deployment, seen burning in the Gulf, will be a powerful tool for those who wish to knock us down a peg or Two.

    • Choi

      And you're on whose side?
      Seems as if you're auditioning to be an Iranian "political" Consultant.

      • Flowerknife_us

        Reality is as reality be. Iran is just letting everyone know they will not go down without a fight.

    • SAM000

      The only power that the Mullahs have is the USA, EU, support.
      The Mullahs threaten the west for retaliation because the west emboldens the Mullahs, the danger for the the Iranians is the west's empty words.
      The NO-WAR is what the west do and this kind of arguments emboldens the Mullahs twice more,
      the NO-WAR is repeating WAR,WAR, WAR, but appeasing and negotiating behind.
      at the same time putting the Iranian Resistance in the USA Terror list, this attitude of USA had cost us more than 120,000 martyrs.
      OBAMA is not even WAR-WAR, Obama assures the Mullahs that USA is on their side Obama repeats always that AMERIKA IS ALWAYS FOR THE MAINTAIN OF THE ISLAMIC REGIME OF IRAN
      OBAMA declares openly that USA labels terrorist the Iranians who want the Regime change.

      So, with SUPER POWER's attitude of weakness any thug becomes a potential danger.

  • Ghostwriter

    The psychotic mullahs will probably set off some conflict which hopefully,they will lose. The Mullahs in Iran haven't exactly shown a capacity for rational thought.

  • Sane

    So you do openly defend Iranian interests.
    I thought so from your other talking points.

    You're kind of obvious you know.

    • patriothere

      It seems the ones that support iranian interests are the ones that incite the iranian population to cling to the hardliners. That's you !

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Iran while ruled by the Mullahs will never cease and decist in what most may consider insane
    plans for the World. It seems inevitable that war will be the outcome and however clever
    the Iranian government thinks itself to be, they misscalculate what will befall them if Israel
    decides to act for self preservation. There will be no Caliphate, few living Muslims and
    Islam will become history depending if anyone is left alive in the Middle East……William

  • Drakken

    Kill the mullahs you kil the message, hence you kill the mesenger, a win for the west and a loss for islam.

  • Matt

    We bought up the oil embargo in 2009/10, not the type in place now but the same as with Cuba a full embargo, naval blockage. So it was always weak and left too late to have any real effect on Iran's intentions in relation to the nuclear program. It is better than nothing, but it is not going to achieve a peaceful resolution to the Iranian problem. And it will not effect negotiations or Iran's position.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    islamofascistpatriot, Actually the koran is trash and vile and the inspiration for al qada, 9/11, world-wide massacres.

  • SAM000

    The last chance is the Iranian Resistance;
    The regime will never stop the Nuclear Bomb.
    The sanctions make the Regime vulnerable and fragile, the tough oil and economic sanctions are necessary but not enough to stop the nuclear work of the Regime, even if a war becomes the outcome and the regime certainly will defeat, the defeated regime will continue its nuclear work more seriously.
    An Islamic Regime can not survive and can not stand on power without external helps and supports.

    To stop the Nuclear project of the Regime, we should admit the REGIME CHANGE, and this is what the USA ADMINISTRATION OF OBAMA rejects actively.

    Obama administration keeps on its FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organizations) list the Iranian Resistance and helps the Mullahs to exterminate the Resistance.

    We are told openly that DE-listing the Resistance is equivalent of the WAR DECLARATION.

    Nuclear Iran is dangerous for the Middle East stability.
    If we admit that Iran acquires the Nuclear FACILITIES (CIVIL OR MILITARY), we should expect that Arabic Saudi, Turkey, Jordain, Dubai, Kuwait, Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and all tiny Sheik-Islands who has the Petrol revenues acquire the Nuclear BOMB.

    One of the permanent headaches of the modern world is that the Pakistani BOMB do not drop in the hands of TALIBAN,
    If there is a minimum of human sense in OBAMA and his administration, they should admit the regime change.
    When we say the Regime Change, we don't mean any help or support from USA or EU to overthrow the Mullahs, we want that USA and EU stop BARRAGING and fighting our RESISTANCE.
    UN and USA are more ISLAMIST than Al-Qaeda.
    You the Americans, you claim that you are against Islamism and Sharia, but you have elected and admitted a PRO-ISLAMIC Administration who supports the Mullahs!!

  • Sane

    So you want America to sit and do nothing while Iran readies itself to impose world wide Caliphate?

  • Sane

    No, they armed insurgents on every side and decimate the country of Lebanon on accurate intelligence.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    islamofascistpatriot,
    Did your boys hijack 4 passenger planes on 9/11 and fly them into buildings?
    Did your saddam hussein murder 5,000 Kurds with poison gas (a WMD)?

  • patriothere

    They didn't decimate lebanon. Not even the stupid bandit state could do that. Nobody can mess with lebanon. The only people that are arming insurgents are the insurgents.

  • patriothere

    No the jews were behind 9/11.

    And saddam was a puppet of the jews so the jews murdered the kurds. Just like the jews murdered 66 million white christian russians.

  • patriothere

    Yes.

  • SAM000

    The end of the worms will come with the ends of the Mullahs.
    You know that we will burn your Hezbollahi race.