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Raymond J. Learsy

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Putting a Stop to Iran's Nuclear Ambitions Without Export Embargoes

Posted: 09/27/09 03:45 PM ET

On June 21st a Huffington Post submission ("Boycott Iran's Oil Immediatley") called for the immediate boycott of Iran's oil. It was a seemingly draconian suggestion that was met with widespread skepticism. After all, what would happen to oil markets without Iranian oil?

Well, on today CNN's State of the Union program, Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind), being interviewed by John King on the timely subject of Iran's nuclear pronouncements (or lack thereof), made a rather startling revelation. According to Senator Bayh, the Russians had informed their American interlocutors that the greatest fear of the current Iranian regime was that they would be denied access to world markets for their oil. Clearly the financial bounty generated by oil sales are key to maintaining their hold on government power and the funding of their nuclear and missile programs, not to speak of buying the loyalty of their goon militias giving them the wherewithal to terrorize their citizenry.

Certainly now is the time to establish the kind of international cooperation needed to boycott Iranian oil. With recent revelations about Iran's nuclear deception, the growing and shared concerns of the major European states and a far more amenable Russia and China, the moment for an international boycott has come.

The boycott would simply be a refusal to buy Iran's oil, either directly or indirectly (i.e. not lifting oil from Iranian ports nor from offshore storage facilities, nor turning a blind eye to third party exchanges). It would be analogous to boycotting Coca Cola (apologies Coca Cola) because of a nasty dispute with its management. No one buys Coke any longer. Soon their warehouse is full. Then their bottling plants shut down. Then after a while one would hope the workers and shareholders organize to oust the management so that business can carry on as before.

Please recall that although Iran produces some four million barrels of oil a day, only some 2.1 million is exported. It is the one year equivalent to the of 700 million barrels plus being held in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Given the potential national crisis at hand, certainly the SPR should be considered for a strategic role in the current imbroglio.

More significant, however, is the fact that currently, Saudi Arabia's excess, unused capacity is approximately 4.5 million barrels/day. That is more than twice the current exports of Iranian oil. It is probably more in the interest of Sunni Saudi Arabia to keep Shia Iran nuclear weapon free than virtually any other nation. Saudi Arabia should welcome the opportunity to play a role in defusing Iran's nuclear ambitions by declaring they will supply any and all oil to world markets caused by a consumers boycott of Iran's oil.

A willing Saudi Arabia should be celebrated. An unwilling Saudi Arabia should be placed on notice that the nuclear defense umbrella proffered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (please see "Hillary Clinton's Nuclear Defense Umbrella for the Oil Price Gougers--Who Pays?") will remain moot and tucked away in an umbrella stand in the halls of Foggy Bottom.

By not buying Iran's oil the mullahs understand their sway over Iran's brave citizens will begin to crumble and the petro-potentates of Tehran will eventually have to cede governance to the Iranian masses without a foreign shot having been fired and without a blockade nor an embargo of goods and services(sanctions) having been put into place.

 
 
 

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