At New Year's I disagreed with forecasts made by David Ignatius that Putin would fully invade Ukraine and that the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran would be revived. I have been proven wrong on the first matter already. As of a week or more ago it looked like I would be about the second as well as reports had a revived deal nearly made, which I would like to see.
But now it looks like it may fall victim to the Ukraine invasion. In particular Russia is now demanding that any deal not involve any enforcement of any economic sanctions on Russia. Apparently Iranian leaders are unhappy about this extraneous demand, and the deal may not happen. However, apparently it may not be necessary for Russia to sign for it to legally go into force. The main complication would be that Russia is where excess enriched uranium from Iran is supposed to go, so Russia could scuttle implementation, even if the deal is legally reinvigorated.
One reason Putin may wish to do this involves oil prices. Getting the deal back in place would relax sanctions on Iran and allow it to export more oil. This would ease the world price of oil. As of now, Putin would prefer to have that price as high as possible both to damage his enemies economically as well as to get as much income as he can from the oil he is able to export, given that Russia's oil is now banned from certain markets.
A couple years ago I read "The King of Oil", the biography about Marc Rich, the Swiss oil trader who founded Glencore and was famously pardoned by Clinton on this last day. In the book, they give a very interesting account about Rich's facilitating sell of Iranian oil to, among other countries, Israel. Of course, that was back in a lower tech world than today, but I'll be curious to see whether and how Russia will still be able to sell a sufficient amount, if at all.
I have family in Poland, and have discussed what's happening there with my parents. Polish state-owned media is being particularly heavy on Putin, relative to Orban's views in Hungary on the same subject, though both Poland and Hungary being currently controlled by conservative parties. People still remember back in 2010 when the President and other senior government officials were killed in a plane crash on the way to Smolensk to attend a commemorative event of the Katyn Massacre on 1940.
- Frank (JMU alum 2016)
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