Iran Threatens to Halt Oil Exports Over Sanctions

Analysts Shrug Off 'Idle Threat'

With the Iranian economy getting worse and worse and US officials crowing about the success of sanctions which have left Iran’s massive oil industry exporting only a fraction of its capacity, and only to nations of America’s choosing, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi today suggested Iran may stop exporting entirely if the sanctions continue.

Qasemi says that he hopes the move isn’t necessary, because the spike in global oil prices would cause average citizens the world over to suffer, but added that Iran has a “plan B” to survive without any oil revenues.

Analysts are shrugging off the claim as bluster, insisting there is no possible plan B and that Iran wouldn’t dare to stop selling oil. So far global oil prices have not reacted to the comments at all, suggesting few traders are even hedging against the possibility.

But that analyst disavowal is so predictable, and the Western claims that Iran “wouldn’t dare” cut the oil sales so cliché, that it is hard to imagine Iran’s Oil Minister is bluffing with nothing to back it up. Whether Iran has a plan B or not remains to be seen, but the comments almost certainly reflect a serious discussion ongoing among Iranian leaders faced with ever more sanctions and ever more unreasonable demands from the West.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.