Viewpoint: Iran attack plan not about nukes

History, they say, repeats itself. In light of what is unfolding with respect to Iran, that claim appears to be valid.

Before we attacked Iraq, Mr. Bush and his minions told us we had to launch an assault because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Now we are eyeing an attack on Iran. Why? Because the Iranians may have nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Same song, second chorus.

As in the case of Iraq, the claim is a pretext, a smoke screen in a feeble attempt to justify more imperialistic aggression for oil. Yes, oil. These wars all relate to an increasingly frantic scampering to get the lion’s share of the planet’s remaining petroleum. The nuke card is in the mix because Israel is concerned that Iran may have, or will get, the capability to strike the Jewish state.

Well, if the focus on Iran is not about nuclear weapons, what is going on? Behind all the rhetoric about Iraq’s neighbor is the hard fact that the Tehran government plans to establish a new international oil-trading mechanism to compete with the NYMEX in New York and the IPE (International Petroleum Exchange) in London. It is known as a “bourse”—taken from the French stock exchange in Paris, the Federation Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs—only this one would be for marketing oil instead of securities.

Worse, from the Bush administration’s viewpoint, it would tie such sales to the euro rather than the dollar. If the neocons allow the Iranian plan to go forward, the euro would gain a secure foothold in the international oil market and probably displace the dollar as the currency of choice for oil sales.

Should that happen, the U.S. economy would be in danger of collapsing like a deflating balloon. Hence the drum beating for American intervention. Already several European nations, plus China and Russia are showing signs of dumping dollars for the euro, which is more solidly backed than U.S. fiat money.

Bush and Cheney went into office in 2000 with the intent of overthrowing Saddam. The Iraq war was launched to seize control of Iraq’s oil, install a puppet government, establish permanent military bases and to try to foil any further effort by OPEC to move toward a euro-based oil market. The effort to plan in advance of office for an attack on Iraq was revealed throughout last year by several administration insiders.

Saddam had made the mistake of switching Iraqi oil sales to the euro, so he had to go. Since his fall, the oil market has been put back on a dollar basis in Iraq. That fact was confirmed in an article in Financial Times, but it never was reported by any major U.S. media.

So here we are again, with George W. Bush beginning a second term and the neocon cadre in the White House dreaming dreams of global conquest. In their eyes, Iran is the next step.

In September of last year, Newsweek reported: “Administration hawks are pinning their hopes on regime change in Tehran—by covert means, preferably, but by force of arms if necessary. Papers on the idea have circulated inside the administration, mostly labeled “draft” or “working draft” to evade congressional subpoena powers and the Freedom of Information Act.

“Informed sources say the memos echo the administration’s abortive Iraq strategy; oust the existing regime, swiftly install a pro-U.S. government in its place (extracting the new regime’s promise to renounce any nuclear ambitions) and get out. This daredevil scheme horrifies U.S. military leaders, and there’s no evidence it has won any backers at the cabinet level.”

A technical obstacle to the Iranian bourse is the fact that there is no euro-denominated oil pricing standard, or “marker” as it’s called in the industry. The current three markers are denominated in U.S. dollars. They are: West Texas Intermediate Crude, Norway Brent crude, and UAE Dubai crude. Since the spring of 2003, however, Iran has demanded payment in euros for its European and Asian exports.

The Iranian bourse would mark a major shift in the oil markets and would be strong competition for the New York and London exchanges, which are owned by U.S. corporations. The advent of the bourse likely would create a fourth oil marker, denominated in euros. It should be noted that the European Union imports more oil from OPEC nations than we do, and the E.U. provides 45 percent of imports to the Mideast.

“Some industry experts have warned the Iranians and other OPEC producers that Western exchanges are controlled by big financial and oil corporations, which have a vested interest in market volatility. The IPE, bought in 2001 by a consortium that includes BP, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, was unwilling to discuss the Iranian move” (

Mohammad Javad Asemipour, adviser to Iran’s oil ministry and the man behind the bourse plan, said the new exchange would begin trading on March 21 of this year. A later report from Iran, however, said the bourse would not go into operation until next year. Additionally, Saudi Arabian investors are showing some interest in the proposal.

In light of these and other factors, it is not surprising the Bush administration is getting set to ignite the Mideast and head off the europetro bourse, no matter the cost in blood, money and allies (

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