The situation in Iran has finally reached a fever pitch that I believe may push the situation over the top. Recently France and the UK announced that they will be halting all purchases of Iranian oil by June. In response Iran immediately halted all oil shipment before the scheduled date. This could be quite dangerous for the Iranian economy since 20% of Iranian oil is exported to the European Union. Iran has already stated that they have other customers already lined up to purchase it, many presume them to be Russia and China.
In the midst of all the threats of war and sanctions by the West and Israel, the Iranian government devised its own tactic by threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz. Such a move would definable have a severe impact on trade in the region and for the Western powers. Hormuz is the world’s most important oil choke point due to its daily oil flow of almost 17 million barrels in 2011. It is also a major shipping route for trade. Already Iran has sent ships to maintain a presence in the area while the US has done the same with the Navy’s Fifth Fleet based in Manama, Bahrain.
War is close and unpredictable because documents have been leaked from the US show that the government is concerned that Israel will strike without backing from the US. The US is genuinely concerned that military action by Israel against Iran may come without warning, possibly sparking a Third World War. Israeli officials say if they decide to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, they will do so without the prior consent or knowledge of the US, according to an AP report citing leaked US intelligence.
Regardless, a new development has emerged in an announcement from Iran that they are now accepting gold in exchange for oil. They may also use their own national currency for the oil as well. The decision to accept new forms of payment was announced by Mahmoud Bahmani, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran. This is a very dangerous move, the sale of oil in a currency other than the US dollar is what prompted the invasion of Iraq. The sale of oil for gold is what set off the invasion of Libya and the subsequent murder of Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
In my opinion this latest step by Iran to start accepting alternate forms of payment for oil, especially gold, my be what pushes the US over the top and begin fully supporting an invasion of Iran. Thus far US President Barack Obama has been hesitant to launch another war with an election coming soon as well as the huge financial burden that would result from it. Its questionable whether the imperialist war machine can survive another war, its also questionable whether the US Empire can afford another war. I suspect Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei are very aware of the financial and military situation in the US and I believe they are using that weakness in the empire to keep pushing their independence.