Iran, March 20, 2006

Hidden facts and backgrounds about Iran.
Effects of the oil bourse in Tehran starting on March 20th, 2006.
Oil trade in euros undermines US' hegemony.

Iran, March 20th 2006.

It is January 2006. The US, England, France and Germany are in a hurry to impose sanctions against Iran. They started a campaign of accusations: Iran would have plans to make a nuclear bomb.

Iran is member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. According to the last informations, it sticks to the rules of this treaty and accepts inspections by the UN’s agencies. As a member of the treaty, Iran has the right to do research, to build plants and to develop nuclear energy for civil purposes. According to article 4 of the treaty, the other members have the obligation to help Iran develop the use of this energy. [1]

Instead of this, some provoke a diplomatic spectacle, arguing, that if Iran abuses of its researches, the country would have the knowledge and the means to make a bomb in six years. Although apparently this threat could become real only in six years, the adversaries are in a very great hurry to lay the case before the Security Council and get sanctions against Iran as quick as possible. What is happening? Why this hurry?

The urgent reasons

Well, this hurry is related to other reasons, urgent ones. These are the oil sales in euros and the opening of the oil market (in euros) in Tehran foreseen on March 20th, 2006. [2]

Since 1971 oil is priced exclusively in US-dollars. From March 20th there will also be a price in euros. This is not without risk for the US and Europe. This market can greatly influence the exchange rate between the dollar and the euro. (As soon as there is a difference between the oil prices in dollars and in euros.) This could have effects that change the world much more than nuclear bombs...

Seen from Iran, the conversion from dollar to euro is rather logical. Since 1979 the US boycotts Iran. [3] Iran sells 30 % of its oil to Europe, the rest mainly to India and China. Since spring 2003 customers can already purchase the oil directly in euros, but the price is still the one in dollars. The market in euros is just a next step to a trade without interposed dollar.

The motor of the US’ hegemony

The oil sales in dollars can be considered as the motor of the US’ hegemony. This is how it works. Since 1971 the US has the advantage, that OPEC sells all its oil in dollars. As a result, the US disposes of it without limitation. Even if it would not have enough dollars, it can print them to be delivered. Another result is, that the rest of the world has to buy dollars to obtain oil. This creates a permanent dollar demand. Normally, the exchange rates of currencies reflect the health of the trade balances. The currencies of countries that sell more than they buy have a tendency to gain value. On the contrary, the countries that buy more than they sell see the exchange rate of their currency lowering. But what is true for all other currencies is not true for the US dollar. The US imports a lot more than it exports. Since 30 year this gets worse and worse. [4] But thanks to the permanent demand for dollars in the oil trade, the rate of the dollar does not fall.[5]

In the oil trade there are factors that make, that in a general way, always more dollars are needed. Oil consumption always rises and so does its price. At the other end, the dollars spent by OPEC countries are dispersed all over the globe. Thanks to the free international trade, a lot of these notes remain in service outside the US. Others are stocked as reserves by foreign banks. So regularly the US can print new dollars and deliver them abroad. However, there is only one way to do so: spend the new money outside the US, and, in fact, do some free shopping. (It only cost the paper and the ink.) Of course, those purchases create a debt, for the foreigners could use the dollars to buy products, services, shares, buildings or land from the US. In practice, holders of dollars often buy Treasury Bonds, that have the advantage to bring in interest. The amount of those interests has become that high, that the Treasury has to issue loans to pay them. Consequently the amount of interests grows all the time. It is a spiral that makes the debt increase explosively. Today, dollars. [6] 45 % are to be paid back to foreign creditors. You have to be very optimistic to believe that the US will pay back this debt some day. For the moment, the US continues to live on the tick of the rest of world and enjoys its hegemony.

The euro too

In essence the euro has the same disadvantages and risks as the dollar. In times the use of the euro increases outside of Europe, there is only one way to get the money there: go shopping abroad and make debts. As long as there is a motor maintaining the demand, for instance an oil bourse in Tehran, one can indefinitely keep the debt growing and push it ahead. This is one of the things the experience with the dollar learned. Then Europe can live on the tick of other countries, which need euros to buy oil.

The urgency to oust Sadam

Few people know, that the urgency to invade Iraq was dictated by the stagnation in the dollar demand. As a punishment for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the UN had decided an embargo. Because of the attitude of the US, this embargo went on for many years. In the Food For Oil program, Iraq was allowed to export oil. In February 2000, Sadam asked the UN to convert the account of this program from dollars to euros. On October 30th 2000 the UN accepted the switch. [7] The purchasers of oil no longer needed dollars. The rate of the euro, which was going down since 1998, started a triumphal raise. [5] The dollar fell more and more. A pretext had to be found to oust Sadam. After the terrorist attack of 9/11, president Bush told the world, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. March 20th 2003 Iraq was attacked by the US and a few remaining allies. Early June 2003 the oil trade in euros has been switched back into dollars... [8]

No recovery

In spite of the switch back to dollars in the Iraqi oil sale, the dollar rate did not increase. It is because of Iran, that had started selling its oil in euros from spring 2003. The dollar sank further, limiting the possibilities to get more loans and thus endangering the survival of the US hegemony...

Prevent influence of Teheran

If we can be sure that the White House is conscious of the risks formed by Teheran’s oil bourse, it is not the same for the European leaders. Often they give the impression, they are just following their ally from America. Also, at first glance, this bourse seems to have the purpose to promote the euro. So it is not impossible that, once again, they are fooled and do not see more than the image of the atomic mushroom Bush has drawn on their retina. Just the allegations already have the effect of a bomb. Everybody starts speculating. It is a sensational theme the people will swallow, especially if a bit of UN-sauce is added. Proofs are easy to fabricate. [9] There is also a possibility to push the inspections to a point that the researchers cannot do their work anymore, and Iran ends up to send the inspectors out... No, I do not invent anything. Remember Iraq.

Slow down

Putin has invited the opponents to slow down. He should not be against the use of the euro in the oil trade. After all, for Europe and Russia the future is not the dollar. A good reason to try mediation between the protagonists. However, it is not likely that the Russian offer to deliver the enriched uranium Iran needs, will be sufficient to change the opinion of the Iranians. They know they will not be able to develop their country as they like, as long as others control the taps of their energy.

And the bomb?

In the past many countries have considered the nuclear bomb as the supreme armament. Since September 11th 2001 everybody knows, it only took some rather simple means and a small number of extremists to change the free world into a heavily guarded prison. The most important arsenal of nuclear bombs could not prevent this profound disruption of the US and many other societies.

Why, people who would wish to do harm, would follow the difficult and expensive way to fabric a nuclear bomb, when cheap and simpler means are more efficient? And why, people who would want to protect themselves, would count on the nuclear weapon? The story that Iran would have the intention to make a nuclear bomb, can, in theory, be true. It would be based on the idea, that Iran would not have noticed that terrorist action has reduced nuclear bombs to museum pieces. Today, Chirac’s threat to use them, doesn’t protect anyone. On the contrary.

Rudo de Ruijter, le 19 janvier 2006

[1] select: english, databases , databases , international treaties , treaty collection home page , access to databases , united nations treaty series (1946-2003) , keyword: non-proliferation , F10 , nr 23 (June 19, 1973) , original agreement , view text.

[2] Petrodollar Warfare: Dollars, Euros and the Upcoming Iranian Oil Bourse
by William R. Clark
(Friday August 05 2005)

[3] Timeline: US-Iran ties
A chronology of key events:




[7] (Fred Eckhard, 31 October 2000) &

[8] Financial Times, le 5 juin 2003


Other sources:

Killing the dollar in Iran
By Toni Straka
"With the world facing a daily bill of roughly $5.5 billion for crude oil at current price levels,"

America’s Foreign Owners (September 22, 2005)

1973, Jan 23
Shah of Iran announces that the 1954 operating agreement between a consortium of oil companies and Iran will not be renewed when it expires in 1979. The consortium was formed in 1954 as a means to settle a dispute between a new ministry in Iran and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). The consortium included Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of California, SOCONY-Vacuum, the Texas Company, Gulf, Royal Dutch-Shell, the Compagnie Francaise de Petroles, and the AIOC.

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