January 23, 2009
Now that Timothy Geithner has put his tax problems behind him and he will head up the Treasury, it is time to get down to business. Job One for Geithner and the Obamatrons is Iran. One might ask what the Treasury has to do with Iran. It’s all about money and leaning on the Iranians financially.
|Timothy Geithner let Iran know it will be business as usual under an Obama administration.|
“I agree wholeheartedly that the Department of the Treasury has done outstanding work in ratcheting up the pressure on Iran, both by vigorously enforcing our sanctions against Iran and by sharing information with key financial actors around the world,” Geithner wrote to members of the Senate Finance Committee. The new Treasury boss promised to pick up where the Bush administration left off.
If confirmed, said Geithner, he would “consider the full range of tools available to the US Department of the Treasury including unilateral measures’ to halt Iran’s nuclear progress.”
In other words, he will continue the policies of the Bush administration. During Bush’s reign, the neocons insisted Iran has embarked on developing nuclear energy for one simple reason — in order to build a nuclear bomb and use it against Israel. Last October, Mohamed ElBaradei, who leads the International Atomic Energy Agency, repeated his assertion there is no credible evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
In December, Russia chimed in by stating Iran does not have the ability to build nuclear weapons.
In 2006, a CIA assessment found no evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons. According to ace journalist Seymour Hersh, the CIA’s assessment made it more difficult for the neocons to push for an attack against Iran.
Geithner will play his part by helping the U.S. impose unilateral financial sanctions on Iranian commercial banks including Melli, Saderat, Sepah and Mellat. The sanctions ban any transactions between a U.S. citizen or institution with the four Iranian banks.
Ali Divandari, the managing director of Mellat, told the Financial Times Iran is getting around U.S.-imposed sanctions by establishing links with small and medium-sized banks that have less U.S. exposure than bigger lenders. “The US sanctions initially had a negative impact on the bank’s reputation and created troubles, but in practice there was no halt in our operations,” Divandari said. “We are now working with important international commercial and correspondent banks on a daily basis… including European, Asian and African ones.”
It will be up to Geithner and the Treasury to make sure Iran is unable to avoid the sanctions and make the country feel the required pain.
In the wake of Obama’s inauguration, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki “struck a moderate tone,” according to the Associated Press, and declared Iran is “ready for new approaches by the United States.” Mottaki said Tehran was waiting for “practical policies” from the Obama administration before making any specific judgments.
Geithner, however, let Iran know it will be business as usual.
In November, Obama said said he would help mount an international effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. After the election, Iran’s “hardline” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to Reuters, called for “fundamental and fair” changes to U.S. policies in the region.
Obama’s neolibs will not change the policies of the Bush neocons. The neolibs eschew the fanatical chest-beating and saber-rattling of the neocons and prefer to pursue essentially the same policies without the counterproductive theatrics. Iran is feeling the heat not because of its illusory nuclear weapons program, but because it has not buckled to the demands of the international bankers and the global elite. Iran must suffer the same fate as Iraq and if it takes sanctions to do this, so be it. If sanctions fail, the Israeli attack dog may be unleashed against Iran.
Obama admitted as much back in July of 2008. “US presidential hopeful Barack Obama believes Israel will attack Iran if sanctions fail to halt the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program,” the Jerusalem Post reported at the time, citing ABC News. “The remark was reportedly made in a meeting… between Obama and Democratic members of the House of Representatives.” Obama’s national security spokesman Wendy Morigi declined to comment on the report. She emphasized, however, that “Obama has always said that Iran must end its illicit nuclear program.”
Geithner is simply doing his part over at the Treasury.
Unfortunately, if and when the U.S. or its proxy Israel attack Iran, the Obamatrons will make all kinds of excuses, as “liberal” Clinton supporters did when the U.S. bombed Yugoslavia and and Bosnia.