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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/16/12

US wants SWIFT war on Iran

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This article cross-posted from Asia Times

What was the parade of European
poodles thinking -- that Tehran would just roll
over and absorb the European Union's oil embargo,
scheduled to start on July 1?

No wonder
Brussels was caught as a Gucci deer in the
headlights when the news started to flow that
Tehran would pre-empt the move and immediately
slap its own embargo of crude oil exports to six
European Union countries -- deeply in crisis Club
Med members Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain plus
recession-hit France and the Netherlands.

It took virtually no time for Iran's Oil
Ministry and then the Foreign Ministry to deny it;
such a decision, technically, would have to be officially announced by the Supreme National
Security Council, which also deals with the
nuclear negotiations.

But only the deaf,
dumb and blind wouldn't understand the message;
blowback for the ridiculously counter-productive
European sanctions/oil embargo package will only
plunge vast swathes of Europe further into deep
economic pain.

Iran supplies 500,000
barrels of oil a day to the EU. The mere threat of
an Iranian embargo has already provoked an oil
price spike.

Assuming Club Med countries
would be able to get oil from other sources -- and
that's not a given; Saudi Arabia wants high oil
prices with a vengeance -- they would have to
reconfigure their refineries to process it.
Inevitably there would be shortages of gasoline;
the average Italian, for instance, is already
furious with the skyrocketing price of gas at the

Perhaps those tens of thousands of
useless Brussels bureaucrats carrying their
multicolored files up and down should do something
meaningful and send a letter to Washington
officially congratulating the Americans for
further impoverishing tens of millions of EU

When in doubt, slap more

Yet the vultures, jackals and
hyenas of regime change/war can never be appeased
in their sanction lust. The US is now forcing the
EU to cut off Iran from Brussels-based SWIFT -- the
independent telecom mechanism/clearinghouse used
by every bank in the world to exchange financial
data (its official name is Society for Worldwide
Interbank Financial Telecommunications). Iran's
Central Bank itself may become a victim.

In a nutshell, SWIFT is the wheel that
moves global financial transactions and trade. So
if this is not an extended, remixed declaration of
hardcore economic war against one country --
nothing else is.

Will it work? Hardly. It
will certainly represent more devastation
unleashed over "the Iranian people" -- the vague
entity of choice against which the US has "no
quarrel." More than 40 Iranian banks use SWIFT to
process financial transactions, and Iranians use
it like everybody else in a globalized economy.

It will drag SWIFT's carefully maintained
reputation for trust and neutrality through the
mud; imagine other member countries' reaction to
the fact they can also be totally marginalized
according to the US's whims.

Not to
mention that Washington cannot tell SWIFT what to
do; thus it is not so subtly applying "pressure,"
Mafia-style, on the Europeans. The "message" was
delivered in person by David Cohen, the US
Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism
and financial intelligence.

And all this
for what? According to the relentless, suffocating
barrage of spin in Western corporate media, to
"perhaps" buy some time so the Obama
administration can "persuade" the warmongering,
nuclear-armed Likud government in Israel not to
attack Iran this coming spring.

that American camel

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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