...Hijacking a bunch of British sailors and ratcheting up International concern for oil reserves has (from Iran's perspective) had a predictable, pre-meditated effect - Iran makes £55 million from hostage crisis as oil prices soar
While Iran has the world’s second largest reserves of Natural gas and also one of the world’s largest reserves of oil the long term energy situation here is far from bright. This is the life line of its economy yet the Iranian government is investing surprisingly rather small sums in maintaining the infrastructure and or increasing current production. Daily production is coming at 3.9 million barrels which is actually 5% under its OPEC quota; they have not been able to meet their quota for over 21 months now. Shortage of technical skills and huge delays in new projects are the main culprits for falling production. In fact if nothing is done soon within a decade Iran’s net oil exports could fall to zero. Oil minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh has stated that without additional new investment daily out put could fall by as much as 13% a year more then double what outside experts had expected.
Meanwhile, Russia gloats that Iran Exposes Britain's Weakness, while Forty-eight percent of Germans think the United States is more dangerous than Iran, a new survey shows, with only 31 percent believing the opposite:
And... American Politicians cannot be compared with Iranian Mullahs:
Anti-Americanism is the wonder drug of German politics. If no one believes what you're saying, take a swing at the Yanks and you'll be shooting your way back up to the top of the opinion polls in no time. And on the practical side, you can be the head of the Social Democratic Party and endear yourself to the party's hardcore with a load of anti-American nonsense, and still get invited back to Washington -- just look at Gerhard Schröder. In fact, you could, like leading German politicians in the debate over the planned American missile shield in Europe, be accused of having "an almost unbelievable lack of knowledge" by a former NATO general, and even that wouldn't matter. It's all about what you believe, not what you know.
Anti-Americanism is hypocrisy at its finest. You can spend your evening catching the latest episode of "24" and then complain about Guantanamo the next morning. You can claim that the Americans have themselves to blame for terrorism, while at the same time calling for tougher restrictions on Muslim immigration to Germany. You can call the American president a mass murderer and book a flight to New York the next day. You can lament the average American's supposed lack of culture and savvy and meanwhile send off for the documents for the Green Card lottery.
Not a day passes in Germany when someone isn't making the wildest claims, hurling the vilest insults or spreading the most outlandish conspiracy theories about the United States. But there's no risk involved and it all serves mainly to boost the German feeling of self-righteousness.
Now, as al-Jazeera gleefully proclaims that Iran softens stance on UK sailors, Iran's Press TV condescendingly gloats that Iran is awaiting reasonable UK behavior. Britain has clearly lost the upper hand, if it ever held it (perhaps when the story first broke, drawing condemnations from most world bodies). As such, Rick Lowry muses:
Iran is a different story. The last time someone made a joke on German TV about an Iranian leader, the outcome was not pleasant. Exactly 20 years ago, Dutch entertainer Rudi Carell produced a short TV sketch portraying Ayatollah Khomeini dressed in women's underwear. Carell received death threats. The piece, which lasted all of a few seconds, led to flights being cancelled and German diplomats being expelled from Tehran. Carell apologized. Jokes about fat Americans are just safer.
Today, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talks about a world without Israel while dreaming of an atom bomb, it seems obvious that we -- as Germans of all people -- should be putting two and two together. Why shouldn't Ahmadinejad mean what he says? But we Germans only know what we believe.
The Americans are more dangerous than the ayatollahs? Perhaps the Americans should take the Germans at their word for a change. It's high time for a new round of re-education. The last one obviously didn't do the job.
Perhaps this is what Ahmadinejad and the mullahs desire. Britain is playing nice, the U.S. has its arms tied (between Iraq and domestic opposition to even the slightest provocation toward Iran), and as of today, Iraqi and American forces Release Kidnapped Iranian Diplomat in Baghdad. Britain should be thinking long and hard about ways it can get to Iran, regardless of the outcome of the hostage situation. Britain has options; diplomatic, economic, and military. So too, does the U.S. have options... although it will have to walk ever more softly, and perhaps not carry such a big stick.
Iran wants to quit the international community, but the international community won't let it. No act of warfare against the civilized world, no defiance of the United Nations, no violation of international norms, no brazen lie is ever enough to mark Iran as unworthy of outreach, dialogue and the art of sweet persuasion.