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This post was edited by Chechen at 2012-2-19 05:52|
By Pepe Escobar
What was the parade of European poodles thinking - that Tehran would just roll over and absorb the European Union's oil embargo, scheduled to start on July 1?
No wonder Brussels was caught as a Gucci deer in the headlights when the news started to flow that Tehran would pre-empt the move and immediately slap its own embargo of crude oil exports to six European Union countries - deeply in crisis Club Med members Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain plus recession-hit France and the Netherlands.
It took virtually no time for Iran's Oil Ministry and then the Foreign Ministry to deny it; such a decision, technically, would have to be
officially announced by the Supreme National Security Council, which also deals with the nuclear negotiations.
But only the deaf, dumb and blind wouldn't understand the message; blowback for the ridiculously counter-productive European sanctions/oil embargo package will only plunge vast swathes of Europe further into deep economic pain.
Iran supplies 500,000 barrels of oil a day to the EU. The mere threat of an Iranian embargo has already provoked an oil price spike.
Assuming Club Med countries would be able to get oil from other sources - and that's not a given; Saudi Arabia wants high oil prices with a vengeance - they would have to reconfigure their refineries to process it. Inevitably there would be shortages of gasoline; the average Italian, for instance, is already furious with the skyrocketing price of gas at the pump.
Perhaps those tens of thousands of useless Brussels bureaucrats carrying their multicolored files up and down should do something meaningful and send a letter to Washington officially congratulating the Americans for further impoverishing tens of millions of EU citizens.
When in doubt, slap more sanctions
Yet the vultures, jackals and hyenas of regime change/war can never be appeased in their sanction lust. The US is now forcing the EU to cut off Iran from Brussels-based SWIFT - the independent telecom mechanism/clearinghouse used by every bank in the world to exchange financial data (its official name is Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications). Iran's Central Bank itself may become a victim.
In a nutshell, SWIFT is the wheel that moves global financial transactions and trade. So if this is not an extended, remixed declaration of hardcore economic war against one country - nothing else is.
Will it work? Hardly. It will certainly represent more devastation unleashed over "the Iranian people" - the vague entity of choice against which the US has "no quarrel". More than 40 Iranian banks use SWIFT to process financial transactions, and Iranians use it like everybody else in a globalized economy.
It will drag SWIFT's carefully maintained reputation for trust and neutrality through the mud; imagine other member countries' reaction to the fact they can also be totally marginalized according to the US's whims.
Not to mention that Washington cannot tell SWIFT what to do; thus it is not so subtly applying "pressure", Mafia-style, on the Europeans. The "message" was delivered in person by David Cohen, the US Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.