The Iranian Gambit
December 31, 2006 1:11am CST
Time will tell whether this gambit was a smart move, a failure, or somewhere in between. It’s debatable what are the real reasons for Iran’s nuclear interest. Some say it’s really to produce a nuclear weapon someday. Others say it’s to diversify with other energy sources, so it can sell its oil in its upcoming bourse. The timing of the Iranian President, and the elevated rhetoric may look more and more like a classic gambit strategy. Elevate the rhetoric and get the rest of the world to focus on stopping a nuclear Iran, and thereby spend the political capital of the UN Security Council, and specifically the USA. How does this gambit work? I think we can safely assume that Iran wants the upcoming Iranian Oil Bourse to succeed. But to strengthen its position, it introduced a gambit into the picture several months before the Bourse. Why you ask? If Iran timed this gambit right, by blowing enough smoke and diverting the world into stopping its nuclear program (and I use the word diverting purposely because even the IAEA has said Iran doesn’t have the raw materials for a weapon, yet), it increases its leverage for the world to thereafter support its upcoming bourse. Can it be so shrewd? The Gambit is to make the world and specifically USA use its political capital to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Once USA uses its political capital, Iran can complete the gambit by saying, “I give, I give, we will listen to the world and give up our nuclear program, but the world in return needs to support our Bourse. If you are going to take away our nuclear program, we do need the means to sell our oil in a market of our choice.” Ah, if you put it that way, if that is what it will take to stop your nuclear program, okay.” For Iran, using this classic gambit strategy wasn’t so much to gain support for its nuclear program, but it was to gain leverage and support for its Bourse. The gambit was to give away something that Iran couldn’t realistically get anyway, and strengthen something it wanted all along. Classic, classic, classic! Time will tell whether this gambit worked, but I must say, Iran’s timing was shrewd.