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Guy Bechor Photo: Yariv Katz
Guy Bechor Photo: Yariv Katz
 
 

Ayatollahs left all alone

Iran shocked to see American, European chokehold on Tehran’s economy

Guy Bechor
Published: 07.02.10, 00:44 / Israel Opinion

The stunned Iran cannot believe it’s happening: The worst nightmare for the Ayatollah regime is taking shape right before its eyes, in the form of a complete chokehold on Iran’s economy within a few months. Iran’s soft underbelly is in the sights – oil and gas. The arrogant Ahmadinejad thought this day shall never come, yet the “higher power” that guides him, in his view, apparently no longer works.

 

The US and Europe have decided to suffocate Iran’s economy, no less. This is no longer about playing games here and there or about lukewarm sanctions against Iranian companies here and there. This time, the target is the whole Iranian economy. For Israel and most Arab states, there could be no greater success: The state behind everything that destabilized the Middle East is being threatened with collapse.

 

At the end of June, the US Congress and Senate approved by a large majority a law banning global companies engaged in ties with Iran’s oil and gas industry from coming into the US. This is a comprehensive and strict law that will dry up Iran as it dried up Cuba. Once the law goes into effect, anyone in the most sensitive industry for the Iranians who goes into Iran will not be allowed to go into the US. (While Iran exports oil, it must import refined oil for cars and planes, and therefore its dependence on the world is high.)

 

This law’s effect is already being felt, and energy giants that sell fuel for Iranian cars and planes immediately announced that they’re terminating their ties with the rogue, crumbling state. For example, the French Total immediately put an end to its Iran business.

 

Yet there’s more, and that’s what hurts Iran the most: The European Union has also imposed a chokehold on Iran’s economy. The decision was taken in June by all EU heads of state: As of early July, new investments by European companies and states in Iran’s energy, oil, and gas industry will be banned. This is an absolute, comprehensive, and far-reaching boycott. Technical assistance and the transfer of goods and services to Iran’s oil and gas industry will also be disallowed. Every violation of this decision will be illegal.

 

Arrogant Iranians infuriated

We must keep in mind that the EU is Iran’s number one economic partner. About 80% of Iran’s revenues come from oil and gas, and therefore this is its soft underbelly. And why are foreign investments critical? Because Iran’s wells are growing old, and there is a constant need to renovate them, yet there is no money for it unless it comes as a foreign investment – which is now banned. Should these renovations not take place constantly, Iran will stop pumping oil and the economy will deteriorate quickly.

 

The arrogant and unresponsive Iranians are now infuriated with the whole world: The US and EU (the EU will be “gravely punished,” Tehran says, calling the Germans “Israel’s slaves”), the Russians who abandoned them (according to Iran, Russia is a crumbling super-power. Everyone is crumbling, except for Tehran, of course,) and the Chinese who betrayed them. Where will they go now?

 

The Iranian regime is left isolated in the world, and below it is an Iranian society that wishes to end the Ayatollah dictatorship, which is merely 30-years-old.

 

Precisely at this time, the world must not go easy on the Iranians. The offer made to Iran on the nuclear front last year, and rejected by Tehran, should not be offered yet again. The time has come to put an end to the Persian bazaar. This pressure may topple the Ayatollah regime, as officials in Tehran know, and therefore the world should not make do with anything that is less than a complete halt of the nuclear race.

 

In any case, a collapsing Iranian economy means less terror in the region, less radicalism and provocation, and less aid to Hezbollah and Hamas; indeed, the Middle East’s stability will only gain from this. 

 

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