Roger Stern gibt heute in der Herald Tribune zu bedenken, dass das Teheraner Regime durch den Ölpreis gestärkt wird – der wiederum von Kriegsrhetorik in die Höhe getrieben wird.
Wer die Mullahs schwächen will, sollte also alles tun, um den Ölpreis zu drücken und ihre Eskalationsstrategie durch Verhandlungsangebote unterlaufen.
„Tehran seems unimpressed by administration war talk, perhaps because it has confidence in its navy. Lots of other people are scared, though. Take oil traders. Oil prices used to have a tight relationship with Saudi spare capacity. When capacity went up, prices went down. After two years of escalating threats between Tehran and Washington, however, new capacity no longer calms the market.
Under the old market rules, prices would be $50, not $100. So war talk sends an extra $20 billion a year to Tehran. The Bush administration’s bellicose rhetoric thus makes a mockery of the president’s pledge to „do everything in our power to defeat the terrorists.“
If it wanted to honor this commitment, the administration would stop saying things that drive up oil prices. As it is, the long parade of threats just makes the mullahs richer.
Yet they spend their $90 a barrel windfall faster than ever, trying to buy legitimacy with pork. Deeply unpopular, the Iranian regime now relies on constantly rising oil prices for survival.
Its spending has quadrupled in the last six years, a remarkable rise that’s evolved in lockstep with oil prices. Here, at last, is our adversary’s weakness: An oil price decline would be a mortal threat.
If Bush wants to hit the regime where it hurts, conciliation should become his byword. In the price collapse that would follow, he’d find a brand new Iranian appetite for negotiation.
This is because, unlike sanctions that might take years bite, a peace initiative would threaten the mullahs tomorrow. Talking peace, which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will certainly scorn, would also help reformers in the approaching Iranian elections.“