Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Iranian spring?

PM Netanyahu has narrowed the window for Iran to achieve enough highly enriched uranium that could be used to make a nuclear bomb to 6-7 months.  That takes us well beyond the US election which is in Nov and also beyond the inauguration of the next President which is in Jan, to next spring (March, April, 2013).  Unless something unexpected happens and under crippling sanctions Iran decides to abort its nuclear weapons program or there is an "Iranian Spring" uprising, then at that point we will have reached Israel's red line, as demontrated so convincingly by PM Netanyahu in his UN speech. 
As a result of severe sanctions placed on Iran by the international community for its continued development of nuclear capability, the value of the Iranian currency, the rial, tumbled 40% last week relative to the dollar. This caused a mini-riot in the bazaar in Tehran, where the money changers work.  So far the riots have not spread, but the economic pressure on ordinary Iranians is severe, prices of all standard products like bread and meat have increased significantly, and the price of gasoline has sky-rocketed.  Note that while Iran produces crude oil, it does not have its own refining capacity, and so must import most of its gasoline/petrol.  The main factor that caused the latest financial crisis is the sanctions against buying Iranian crude oil.  This is hitting them where it counts.
Unfortunately, it does not seem that the riots at this point are spreading.  Don't forget that that the regime crushed the demonstrations three years ago when Ahmedinejad lost the election, but retained his position.  Also, even with the severe economic situation, the regime has not halted its race to develop weapons grade enriched uranium.  It is unlikely that anything will change this momentum.  So while the Iranian people are suffering and the economy is in rapid decline, the Iranian Government of Pres. Ahmedinejad spends millions on developing nuclear capability.  Is this enough to cause an Iranian Spring, like the uprisings that consituted the Arab Spring and removed the Arab dictators from power and initiated the civil war in Syria?  Will there be an Iranian Spring?
So there are two potential mitigating circumstances, either the US President, Obama or Romney, in the spring will take decisive action against Iran and warn them at the eleventh hour that the US will act militarily if they do not stop their development of nuclear weapons, or when Ahmedinejad finally leaves office, the Iranian people will rise up and remove the oppressive regime from power.  If neither of these events happen we can expect Israel to act to destroy the development of Iran's nuclear capability in the spring. Nice!


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