Curious timing for a fateful act?
On the fifth anniversary of the declaration of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq, Iran has taken the same fateful financial step that by some accounts sealed the fate of Saddam Hussein.
Iran, OPEC's second-largest producer, has stopped conducting oil
transactions in U.S. dollars, a top Oil Ministry official said
Wednesday, in a concerted attempt to reduce reliance on Washington at a
time of tension over Tehran's nuclear program and suspected involvement
"The dollar has totally been removed from Iran's oil transactions," Oil
Ministry official Hojjatollah Ghanimifard told state-run television
Wednesday. "We have agreed with all of our crude oil customers to do
our transactions in non-dollar currencies"…
"In Europe, Iran's oil is sold in euros, but both euros and yen are paid for Iranian crude in Asia," said Ghanimifard.
Iran's central bank has also been reducing its foreign reserves
denominated in dollars, motivated by the falling value of the greenback
and U.S. attempts to make it difficult for Iran to conduct dollar
So this isn't just a poke-a-finger-in-Washington's-eye kind of move. There's real self-interest behind it.
Of course, one could have said the same thing back in 2000 when Saddam Hussein started selling oil in euros. The euro was tanking against the dollar back then, but as Timepointed out when it happened, "switching to the euro will favor European suppliers over U.S. ones in
competing for Iraqi contracts, and the p.r. boost that Baghdad would
probably get in Europe would be another plus."
Some people hew to the theory that Saddam's move out of the dollar was what ultimately did him in, although many of the central figures behind U.S. war plans were pushing for regime change in the late 90s.
Just something to keep in the back of our minds as the war drums beat louder in the days ahead.