Iran hysteria returns

Iran hysteria returns

A short article about the media encouraged frenzy over Iran.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post:

There is no evidence that exists anywhere that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. I say this confidently because a report released by the U.S. government, “which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.” This intelligence was not and has not been disputed by the Israelis.1 And of course Iran is in the “position” to build a nuclear weapon, as is every country in the world that is pursuing their right under international law to make use of nuclear power.

And, like the changing of the seasons, Iran hysteria has reared its ugly head yet again. This time it is due to the recent UN Security Council deal with Iran. The brokered deal will damage the Iranian nuclear energy sector in exchange for ending some economic sanctions placed on the country. Predictably, despite the best US intelligence analysis available, the discourse never mentions the evidence that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon. It is instead taken for granted that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and it just is a question of will this deal actually make them end the program. The more blatant idiocy is expressed in the opinion pages of the major media outlets. The Economist in article detailing Obama's opinion of the deal, writes that Obama believes the deal "aims to thwart an Iranian rush to build a nuclear bomb.2" Sharma Gaurav in Forbes magazine writes, "Tehran has never openly admitted that is actually after nuclear weapons." 3 Yes, Iran has never “admitted” it is after nuclear weapons. Those devious bastards. Never mind that according to the best US intelligence estimates available there is no Iranian nuclear weapons program! However, Iran's nuclear weapons program is treated as a fact by major media outlets, albeit in a much more subtle manner. CNN writes that the current deal is, “aimed at keeping Iran's nuclear program peaceful.4” Keeping it peaceful? Is there any evidence to suggest that they had any intention of doing otherwise? Reuters and the Washington Post refer to US attempts to “curb Iran’s nuclear program.” While this is technically true (the deal with Iran would hurt Iran’s nuclear energy programs) the implied message is that the deal is curbing Iranian nuclear weapons programs, weapons programs which the US intelligence community agrees do not exist. The New York Times takes fetishism of this subject to a new level with an infographic chart explaining how the deal affects Iran's nuclear weapons program including a section entitled "How to Ensure That Iran Won’t Cheat".

And this is the more liberal side of the US media. An ad run by a Republican interest group in the state of Kentucky urges voters to reject Republican candidate Rand Paul because he "doesn't understand the threat" posed by Iran. "Even one Iranian bomb would be a disaster" the ad intones over the picture of a mushroom cloud.5

The hidden hand

But hysteria aside, why now? Why this deal now? Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why the UN Security Council (and Germany) have made the current nuclear deal with Iran. There are a number of geostrategic interests at play here. Iran has for some years now been trying to diversify its oil exports by exporting to China. Following the sanctions imposed on Iran at the end of 2011, China had to cutback its Iranian oil imports causing a major blow to the Iranian economy. However, as of 2014 China has begun upping its Iran oil imports to levels that violate UN sanctions. This not only allows China to maintain a relatively secure and affordable source of oil, but also to flex its muscles as an international power to be reckoned with. In addition, if China were to negotiate a separate deal with Iran on oil imports then European countries and the oil companies operating in them would be quick to follow suit; eager to cash in on Iranian oil.6 This would leave the US and its companies out in the cold. This situation is rather similar to the one faced by the US throughout the cold war and into the 1990s in its relationship with Libya. Sanctions on Libya did not have the desired affect as Gaddafi was able to successfully run an economy based on exports to countries aligned with Russian interests. Eventually the sanctions began to crack and EU countries started cashing in, leaving US oil companies out in the cold. After this the US finally lifted its sanctions on the country, but the best oil deals had already been struck with companies operating in the EU. A deal brokered now with Iran between all of the international major players would allow competition for exploitation of Iranian oil reserves to be on a level playing field (with China and Russia having a slight advantage due to geographical proximity and a friendlier history of diplomacy).

The issue, probably the main motivating factor behind the hysteria that these talks have caused in the Republican Party, is that an oil deal with Iran could drive oil prices down even further. Iran would be able to flood the market with its oil at a time just after Saudi Arabia’s record March production of 10.3 million barrels per day. Guarav Sharma writes in Forbes magazine that were sanctions to be lifted, “the only direction the oil price would be headed is downwards. 7” This would further damage the interests of US oil companies who are already suffering from the low prices that the Saudi oil glut has caused.

  • 1. Dilanian, Ken, and Los Angeles Times. "U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb - Los Angeles Times." Featured Articles From The Los Angeles Times. Web. 1 Aug. 2012. .
  • 2. "A Question of Trust." The Economist. April 3, 2015. Accessed April 9, 2015.
  • 3. Sharma, Gaurav. "How Should Oil Markets Price in the Iran Factor?" Forbes, April 8, 2015.
  • 4. "Iran Nuclear Deal Framework Announced -" CNN. Accessed April 9, 2015.
  • 5. "In First Steps on Campaign Trail, Rand Paul Shadowed by Iran Deal." Reuters. April 8, 2015. Accessed April 9, 2015.
  • 6. "Iran Piles Pressure on US with China Oil Talks." CNBC. April 8, 2015. Accessed April 9, 2015.
  • 7. Sharma, Gaurav. "How Should Oil Markets Price in the Iran Factor?" Forbes, April 8, 2015

Posted By

Apr 9 2015 13:58



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Apr 9 2015 14:43

Why do you care so much about this? Just feuding imperialists. The Ayatollah isn't even a left communist.

Apr 9 2015 14:48
Flint wrote:
Why do you care so much about this? Just feuding imperialists. The Ayatollah isn't even a left communist.

Im not saying one side is better than the other (Iran is run by murderous gangsters just like every other country), just pointing out the ridiculousness of the US media and the duplicity of our political establishment by arguing that the current deal with Iran has more to do with oil interests than anything else.

Apr 9 2015 14:55

I was yanking your chain.

I also would prefer if the U.S. didn't bomb Iran.

Apr 9 2015 18:18

it may or may not be about the oil interests (i tend to think it's psychologically rooted, not materially), but the monomania about iran is getting insane.

Apr 9 2015 19:45

Petey, I think maybe it is a combination of ideology and economic interests. Perhaps I neglected to go through why ideologically the US foreign policy establishment runs into hysterics over iran, I do think the oil stuff is at least relevant though

In retrospect (maybe if i have time later) I would like to write a bit about why Iran is such a hot button for policy makers.

Probs has to do with 1. Open disobedience to US hegemony since 1979 2. Wahhabist paranoia of the ever present Shia threat (the saudi/pakistan lobby) 3. The Israel lobby 4. Just generally having an "axis of evil" is good 5. a lot of little shit that ties back into number 1 6. Almost forgot! Oil!!!!!

Apr 9 2015 21:24

i wouldn't absolutely discount oil as a factor; maybe i should say that i detect your #1, #3, and #4 very clearly. what we're hearing about iran is the same sort of orwellian flimflam that we heard in 2003 about iraq, and i think for the same reasons: it whips up then directs the lowest instincts. (about that time i read sidney hook's autobiography and he described the atmosphere leading up to WW1 in very similar terms, except the US used germany as the propaganda target.)

Apr 9 2015 23:35
Flint wrote:
Why do you care so much about this? Just feuding imperialists. The Ayatollah isn't even a left communist.

Naughty boy. Bringing your frustrations and bitterness from other threads here, Yellow card.

Apr 9 2015 23:37
petey wrote:
it may or may not be about the oil interests (i tend to think it's psychologically rooted, not materially), but the monomania about iran is getting insane.

Geopolitical maybe. Internal US politics definitely. Also Netanyahu (see also previous sentence)

Apr 9 2015 23:43

Also Yemen. The current hot zone. (Poor fuckers)

Apr 10 2015 14:41

If anything, maybe this will show those "Zionist"-obsessives that Israel's lobby is not that powerful (if it ever was).