Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran and Venezuela have declared war on the U.S dollar following al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s call for a jihad on the American currency.
At this past weekend’s OPEC summit in Saudi Arabia, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged members to move away from the dollar as the currency of choice for foreign-exchange reserves resulting from oil sales.
Calling the dollar a “worthless piece of paper,” Ahmadinejad told the OPEC summit that a “credible hard currency” other than the dollar should be found.
Chavez, in his concluding speech at the summit, called for OPEC to use oil to fight U.S. imperialism, arguing “the empire of the dollar has to end.”
Ahmadinejad’s call for a basket of currencies for trading oil first surfaced over the weekend, after a closed OPEC members-only meeting was inadvertently shown on a TV monitor in the media center.
The call for an oil jihad against the dollar was first issued by bin Laden in his “Letter to the American People,” published by the London Guardian Nov. 24, 2002.
Bin Laden wrote, “You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of your international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the highest theft ever witnessed in the history of the world.”
He declared, “Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy.”
At the Riyadh summit, Chavez told the group the price of oil could reach $150, or as high as $200 a barrel, “if the United States is crazy enough to attack Iran.”
Ahmadinejad argued that oil was under-priced at $100 a barrel, contending higher prices on world markets would be fair to oil-producing countries such as Iran.
Saudi Arabia, a strong U.S. ally, was reluctant to take political advantage of OPEC’s oil-producing strength, arguing the cartel has always acted “moderately and wisely.”
According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA, Chavez stopped off in Tehran today for direct talks with Ahmadinejad before returning home from the summit.
During the meeting, Chavez reported the two nations have signed 186 agreements, including a proposal to form a joint bank and create a joint fund for industrial projects. Bilateral trade between Iran and Venezuela has reached $4.6 billion annually.
According to IRNA, Chavez said “the value of dollars on global markets is declining, and we will witness the fall of the dollar in the future.”
IRNA also reported Ahmadinejad’s statement that Venezuela and Iran are in full support of each other.
In February 2006, WND reported, Iran was on a course to declare a jihad on the dollar, calling for the creation of an Iranian oil bourse organized to quote oil in euros, instead of dollars.
To date, Iran has yet to follow through with the actual creation of an oil bourse.
In the same month, WND reported Venezuela declared a policy of moving the country’s foreign-exchange holdings out of the dollar and into the euro.
At that time, Chavez called for the creation of a South American central bank designed to hold in euros all the foreign-exchange holdings of the participating countries.
In February, WND reported an announcement by Ehrabhim Sheibany, governor of Iran’s central bank, that about 60 percent of Iran’s oil income is collected in non-dollar currencies, affirming Iran’s decision to end all oil sales in dollars.
According to the Associated Press, the dollar has lost 11 percent of its value against the euro since the start of this year.
In December 2006, WND first reported a warning of the possibility of a dollar collapse.
WND reported last week that with oil at over $90 a barrel, the U.S. has begun spending $1 billion a day for foreign oil, an outflow of dollars that both deepens the country’s negative balance of international trade and further weakens the dollar on world currency markets.
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