The American Republican Party Convention in Tampa ironically coincides with the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Tehran, Iran. Were nominee Mitt Romney to win, he has signaled a willingness to take military action against Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment facilities, which the Iranians say are for the production of electricity via nuclear reactors, but which Romney claims are intended to produce a nuclear warhead. Romney is also open to sending US troops into Iran-backed Syria. The two conventions, one of white American millionaires and their hangers-on, and the other of global South countries unwilling to subordinate themselves to the American corporate establishment, are harbingers of a new global conflict that could have a dire impact on oil prices and the American and world economy.
Iran will use the conference to press for a Palestinian state and to challenge Israeli annexation of all of Jerusalem, as well as to assert its right to nuclear-generated electricity.
The United States and Israel were unhappy about the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Iran, since they are attempting to isolate that country economically. Indeed, US sanctions and boycotts on Iran have reached the level of a financial blockade on Iranian petroleum exports. Tel Aviv and Washington, with some buy-in from London and Paris, are attempting to do to Iran what was done to Iraq in the 1990s, destroy its economy and reduce it to a fourth world country, in hopes of fostering regime change or at least changes in regime behavior.
There is no go evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has admitted as much publicly. The goal appears to be to attempt to prevent Iran from becoming sophisticated enough to have a breakout capability (i.e. to have the ability quickly to construct a warhead were they to decide to do so). The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory but Israel is not, guarantees countries the right to close the fuel cycle so as to construct nuclear electricity generation plants. Israel is believed to have some 400 nuclear warheads, among the world’s largest stockpile, and PM Binyamin Netanyahu may be implicated in illegally smuggling nuclear components from the United States decades ago.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “arrogant” pressure on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon not to go to the Non-Aligned meeting in Tehran is said to have backfired, causing Ban to insist on attending.
Other defiance came from New Delhi. India is committed to remain among Iran’s largest oil markets, and is resisting US pressure and sanctions. It is even talking about allowing Iranian banks to operate in India, despite heavy-handed US threats.
Romney, who thinks Obama is not doing enough against Iran despite the latter’s current unprecedented financial blockade of that country, will likely come into fairly severe conflict with India over Iran.
Egypt’s new Muslim fundamentalist president Muhammad Morsi insisted, likewise, on going to Tehran, signaling his independence from Washington and a desire for Egypt to play a more wideranging role in the region. There is talk of Egypt restoring diplomatic relations with Iran.
Romney has slammed Obama for acquiescing in the overthrow of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, who had imprisoned Morsi and many members of his party. Romney will likely have tense relations with Morsi and the new Egypt.
The US is already perceived in the global South as acting irrationally and vindictively against their companies for perfectly innocent trade with Iran, and for making petroleum prices higher with its attempted financial blockade of that country. If Romney is, as he has suggested, to ramp up tensions with Iran further, and perhaps even intends military action, these global divisions will grow, perhaps to crisis proportions. Military action in the Gulf would certainly send gasoline/ petrol prices sky high and possibly further derail world recovery from the deep global recession.