A few days after the Obama administration signed the nuclear deal with the Islamist state of Iran, after the easing of sanctions on the ruling cleric and Iranian authorities began to take off, the Mullahs initiated their first hegemonic ambition to reclaim and regain its No.2 position in OPEC, threatening to trigger an oil price war if the other 12 countries oppose Iran’s plan. In addition, Iran has put forward a candidate for the position of OPEC secretary general, considered to be the voice of the OPEC organization between meetings.
If the next time you stopped to fill up your car at a gas station, or to buy any other product, and you notice a sudden increase in prices, this can be attributed to the tireless efforts of the Obama administration to start lifting sanctions on Iran, easing pressure on the nation and integrating the Islamists of Iran into the international community, legitimizing them, giving them credibility, calling them rational actors, and pushing for the recent nuclear deal with the ruling cleric in the Iranian regime.
Last week, ahead of the upcoming OPEC meeting, Iran threatened to trigger a price war in the global oil markets. Iranian authorities warned OPEC’s 12 members that Tehran will ratchet up its oil output, no matter what the consequences would be, in an attempt to gain its former influential position. Bijan Zangeneh, Iran’s Oil Minister, said before going into the closed meetings that “we will not give up our rights on this issue.” The sanctions, accumulated through many years in the international community, reduced Iran’s leverage to disrupt and control the world economy through managing oil prices. However, the recent agreement with President Obama gave the Iranian Ayatollah and leaders a freedom to more aggressively reclaim and reassert their Islamist ambitions in the region and on the international scale.
There is a special quota assigned for each main oil exporter at OPEC. Iranian leaders stated that they will not comply with that quota. This will result in a disruption in supply and demand, which will ultimately create uncertainty in the market and lead to the rising of oil prices. For industrial countries, this will affect the prices of many other goods, because oil is used as a primary source for fuel. If Iran does not respect individual targets of oil sales in the global market and the quotas of OPEC members, Tehran’s attempts can definitely result in oil glut. In addition, this will lead to an increase in geopolitical tensions in the region and particularly among OPEC members.
An adviser to Iran’s oil minister, Mehdi Hosseini, was previously quoted in the Financial Times as saying that the Iranian government is developing a form of contract that could change the current system of buyback contracts, which currently do not permit foreign companies to book reserves or take equity stakes in Iranian oil, gas, or other projects. This can be viewed as a considerable increase in Iran’s growing power and leverage, which has previously been exposed to little investment in its oil and gas fields due to the international sanctions and pressure.
The primary reason that brought Iranian leaders to the negotiating table was the very sanctions that have accumulated over the past years by the international community and other US administrations. By the conciliatory and submissive stance that the Obama administration is taking towards Iranian and Islamist authorities, and by the easing of sanctions, the Ayatollahs have viewed America’s recent fragile position and the recent nuclear deal as a freehand to threaten the global economy, regain its no.2 position in OPEC, and increase its hegemonic ambitions in the region, particularly towards Israel. Empowered by the temporary nuclear agreement that was reached two weeks ago, Iranian leaders are aiming to increase their oil sale from nearly 2.5 million barrels a day to 4 million barrels.
Obama promised and pushed for a deal— beside the secret deals and talks with the Ayatollahs— arguing that Iranian leaders are rational actors, and if the international community eases the sanctions and trusts the Islamic Republic of Iran, this would be the most efficient deal to get Tehran to reciprocate, since there is a “moderate” cleric in power. But anyone who has studied the political structure of Iran closely would be cognizant of the fact that there is no fundamental differences between Iran’s political spectrum (reformists like Khatami, moderates like Rouhani, and hardliners like Ahmadinejad) when it comes to pursuing the regime’s Islamist revolutionary ideals; including obtaining nuclear weapons, supporting terrorists organizations, wiping Israel off of the world map, denying the Holocaust, and spreading their Islamist ideology across the world by force.
In addition, the final say rests in the hand of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has clearly declared his denial of the Holocaust, his antagonism towards the United States and Israel, and his ambitions for the world to finally be an Islamist state under the rule of Allah. In fact, recently, Khamenei called Israel a “rabid dog,” adding, "Israeli officials cannot be called humans. They are like animals." He furthermore called the United States a state criminal. All politicians and Ayatollahs in Iran support the current hegemonic and Islamist ambitions of the regime, with the Supreme Leader in charge of foreign policy.
The recent activities after lessening sanctions indicate that efforts by the Islamists in Iran to regain their influence economically— by controlling the oil market— and geopolitically— by further supporting and funding terrorist groups. Thanks to President Obama’s lessening sanctions on Iran, and his blocking of the bipartisan sanctions on the nation, Iran’s increasing control of OPEC’s main decisions and increasing influence in the global oil market is essentially handing over power and leverage to the Ayatollahs. If the current status continues, the United States will soon find itself on the other side of the spectrum, the weak position, in which it would have to struggle to bring the Iranian regime to the negotiating table, bargaining and probably accepting Iran’s demands, along with its hegemonic and nuclear ambitions in order to avoid Tehran’s threats and plans to significantly disrupt the oil market.
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