Monday, February 27, 2012

Might The Rush To War With Iran Slow Down After Friday?

Maybe. The reason is that Iran is having parliamentary elections this Friday, something barely noticed in most US media. This means that just as with our GOP candidates (all but one of them anyway) competing to see who can be more hawkish and promising war against Iran, so the Iranian political leaders have been hyping their standing up to the US and Israel and the various threats that have been made with various assertions and threats of their own, most prominently the one to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil exports, even though this would largely cut off their own exports, a seemingly completely irrational thing to do.

As it is, given that their election oversight bodies have ruled out almost all seriously anti-governmentment candidates from running, not much is going to come of this election, and reportedly the disaffected in urban areas are not likely to turn out to vote much, although not particularly in response to calls by some outside dissident groups to boycott the election. As it is, with this sort of apathy by those who would like a more secular regime, the election is largely between competing hardline theocrats who are playing an Iranian version of what the US GOP candidates are doing (that is, all but one of them), making as loud and aggressive noises as they can to out-Islamistize each other.

In any case, there is reason to believe that the rhetoric on the Iranian side may cool off somewhat after the election this Friday is over. There might even be some openings to talks. Maybe some slowdown of the rate of enriching uranium to 19.5% would do it (95% is what is needed for nuke bombs, and none is being enriched to that level). The latest hysterical reports had to do with their accelerating these activities beyond what is needed for their medical research reactor, and this has led some to speculate that their accelerated activity was being done precisely to pile it up in anticipation of talks that would lead to them cutting back on this activity. We shall see, but there may be hope for some cooling off, with an accompanying reduction of pressure on oil prices.

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