Thursday, April 7, 2011

World Market for Oil Keeps Iran Afloat

This post originally appeared on the Operation FREE blog (www.operationfree.net) on 6 April, 2011.

The United States has done just about as much as possible to apply pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear program and give basic human rights such as free and fair elections and an unfettered media to its people. Yet Iran has seemingly ignored these efforts at persuasion. How they can afford to do so is hardly secret: Iran floats atop the world’s third-largest oil reserve. And while we don’t buy Iran’s oil, other nations have no qualms about purchasing petroleum: in 2009 China became Iran’s leading trade partner and in 2010 invested $40 billion in the Iranian oil industry. At the same time, Russia and Iran agreed to long term energy cooperation.

Oil trade with Iran continues elsewhere, too. Some European oil firms have continued to stretch the rules of the embargo. Just last week the U.S. sought to stop a German bank from transferring Indian oil payments to Iran and the State Department ‘blacklisted’ a Belarus oil firm for continuing to trade with Iran. This shows the importance not only of why America must break its oil dependence for our own security, but why America must also lead the rest of the world to cut the oil tether as well. As long as enough states continue to purchase oil there will be a market for it and regimes such as in Iran and dictators such as Qaddafi will remain in power.

The President’s new Energy Security Blueprint sets out a plan to do that. The U.S. has led in developing electric vehicles and America will soon be producing 40% of the world’s rechargeable batteries. We are leading and cooperating with other nations throughout the Pacific and South America in biofuels development. U.S. programs promote the use of alternative fuels in mass transit in developing countries such as Egypt, Thailand, and Colombia. As long as America, its allies, and developing nations continue to depend upon oil, Iran and other regimes will continue to stay afloat atop their sea of oil. In order to sink Iran, America must lead the world away from oil for our own national security and the safety of the world.