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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/24/15

The Imperial Designs on Iran

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Reprinted from Sputnik

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Lance Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte, USMC, Author: Lance Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte, USMC)
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So what is the Obama administration really up to in Iran? What sort of strategic calculations have led to what for the moment looks like a tactical geopolitical shift?

President Obama certainly concluded that the 36-year-long Wall of Mistrust against Iran was bound to fail. The real Masters of the Universe in Washington -- those who control the deep state -- always knew that the "nuclear weapons" hysteria was bogus. That was part of a strategic decision to keep the Islamic Republic isolated from the West as long as possible, and ultimately force regime change.

The "policy" failed -- miserably. So Obama's Plan B was a nuclear deal.

And after striking a deal, why not seduce Tehran into some sort of collaborative effort in policing the Middle East -- as in reigning in or, better yet, soundly defeating ISIS/ISIL/Daesh?

That would provide a neat historical echo to the Shah years -- the former "gendarme of the Gulf" who, when driven out of power by the Islamic revolution, plunged Exceptionalistan into fits of decades-long despair.

Moreover, the Obama administration and some Beltway factions seemed to believe that factional leadership silos in Tehran -- and Qom -- might be manipulated to serve US strategic interests.

Even before the Lausanne agreement, and in the lead-up towards the Vienna deal, this possibility was practically discussed by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In diplomatic talk, these were "discussions of regional issues."

In the bigger picture, and evidently oblivious to a slew of technical problems, the real Masters of the Universe shadowed by the Obama administration also entertained a simple equation; Iranian gas should eventually replace Russian gas to supply the EU. Russia must -- and will -- suffer.

Forget that Gazprom is a commercial juggernaut on two fronts, Europe and Asia. And forget that Gazprom is coordinating crucial energy moves with Tehran.

Yet the energy wars never stop. NATO's perennial expansion marches in tandem with Washington -- successfully -- sabotaging South Stream; now Washington will do whatever it takes to sabotage Turk Stream and prevent austerity-devastated Greece from linking to the pipeline. Astonishing as it may seem, Iran is now back in Washington's favor as the only possible, future Pipelineistan star.

Listen to the leader

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has been extra busy "selling" the deal with the P5+1 in Vienna to internal public opinion. He never tires to stress that once foreign businesses enter Iran, they will act as a barrier against the reinstatement of sanctions -- which is now the Holy Grail of US neocons and neoliberalcons. Iranian planners are busy drafting the pathways for the reconstruction of the country's core economic sectors. Iranian oil and natural gas projects -- many with input from foreign energy majors -- may be worth $185 billion by 2020.

On July 20, the UN Security Council unanimously (15-0) endorsed the Vienna deal -- and the termination of seven UN resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran since 2006. That provoked shrieks of desperation in that nest of corporate paperboys -- the US Congress. Someone should have explained to that lot this is an international deal.

The EU, meanwhile, approved the deal on July 21 -- as key EU members, itching to restore trade relations, are now on caravan mode, hitting the Persian trail.

There is a 90-day grace period before sanctions can be lifted, following the UNSC vote. Realistically, most UN and EU sanctions, as well as some US third party sanctions, will be lifted only by early 2016.

The bottom line is that sooner rather than later -- whatever the campaign by US neocons and the Israeli and Saudi lobbies -- the whole architecture of sanctions, especially financial and banking, is bound to collapse. Iran will soon be open for business for all Eurasia.

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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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