Pressure Could Prompt Oil Crisis

From the May 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

You have to admit: Iran has a lot of guts.

For years, the Islamic Republic has stonewalled and resisted outside pressure to halt its nuclear activity. The Trumpet has interpreted the trend as a sure sign that Iran will successfully build its own nuclear weapons (see our January 2005 article “Hate Triangle” at www.theTrumpet.com).

In March, it got even gutsier—virtually admitting to having a secret nuclear weapons program (Stratfor, March 8). About the same time, the Iranians gave the world a good clue as to why they are so confident no one will stop them from their goal: They threatened to send Europe and the United States into an oil crisis if they bring up the issue before the United Nations Security Council.

It is a legitimate and worrisome threat. Iran is the second-largest oil producer in opec, and has the ability to halt the oil transported from the Middle East through the Strait of Hormuz (see related story, this page).

In the case of an Iranian oil squeeze, “The first to suffer will be Europe and the United States themselves,” said Hassan Rowhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. “[T]his would cause problems for the regional energy market, for the European economy and even more so for the United States” (Dawn, March 6).

The EU has tried to convince Iran to halt nuclear fuel work, offering incentives covering trade, security and technology. Rowhani expressed optimism about reaching an agreement with Europe. But even if such an agreement goes through, Iran has made it absolutely clear that it will not stop uranium enrichment. “We cannot have and we will not have negotiations with the Europeans if what they want is an end [to uranium enrichment],” said Rowhani. “We will not continue the talks for one single minute, we have made it very clear to Paris and Berlin,” he said (Deutsche Welle, March 5).

Interestingly, also about the same time, the Bush administration emerged with a proposal to move from its publicly hardline approach to a more conciliatory relationship with Iran. In his early March visit to Europe, the president opened the door to admitting Iran into the World Trade Organization and made other friendly gestures, pending Iran giving up its nuclear program. Some officials said this change in strategy was intended tofail in order to prove to Europe that such measures don’t work. Whether or not that is true, not only does the move buy Iran more time to finish up its weapons, it also is a clear signal of just how much the great powers of the world have their hands tied in dealing with Iran!

Iran is thinking big and proving itself unafraid to push its advantage. It’s not at all hard to see how events will soon progress to the point where Iran has the gumption to “push” at the king of the north (Daniel 11:40), its competing neighbor in Europe, in such a way as to provoke the prophesied nuclear World War iii.