NEW YORK – The chronology of the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran indicates the preliminary, six-month agreement is as much about global economics as it is about Iran developing nuclear weapons.
Tehran’s move to free its central bank from direct government control and to resume working with international banking authorities may have prompted the U.S. to ease sanctions, whether or not Iran complies with restrictions on uranium enrichment.
The United States has been threatened by Islamic nations aiming to use the politics of oil as a lever to undermine the U.S. dollar as a standard of pricing and settling international oil transactions.
Meanwhile, Iraq and Libya, as a result of U.S.-backed wars involving coalitions of Western nations, have abandoned government-owned central banks that issue a national currency under government control.
Now, the record of the past two months suggests Iran, in exchange for relief from increasingly onerous economic sanctions, will agree to abandon its government-controlled Iranian central bank.
Iran’s central bank was determined to use the euro to price and settle Iranian oil transactions in favor of establishing a privately managed Iranian bank conforming to World, the World Bank and the Bank of International Settlements, or BIS.
On Feb. 6, 2012, President Obama signed an executive order imposing sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, followed by a letter sent the next day to Congress explaining that more sanctions were warranted.
The order said the restrictions were deserved “particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks.”
The Associated Press reported the executive order was designed to implement through the U.S. Treasury the sanctions specified in an amendment to the defense appropriations bill Obama had signed into law at the end of 2011.
WND has reported since the administration of President George W. Bush that Iran has waged a war against using the dollar as the standard for pricing and settling oil transactions worldwide.
In 2006, WND reported Iran was considering establishing an Iranian oil bourse to compete with the New York Mercantile Exchange and London’s International Petroleum Exchange. The aim was to create an international market with oil transactions priced in the euro rather than the U.S. dollar.
In April 2007, WND reported Iran had reached a decision to end oil sales in dollars, expanding the 60 percent of its oil transactions settled in non-dollar currencies. The dollar was to be replaced either with the euro or with special nation-state agreements in the currency of the buyer nation.
In December 2007, WND reported that Iran, an OPEC country, had proposed to OPEC that it should stop settling oil transactions in the U.S. dollar. The proposal was communicated through Iranian oil minister Gholam Hussein Nozari, who declared that dollar depreciation had advanced to a point where the dollar should no longer be considered a trustworthy currency.
Iran reverses course on international banking
On Sept. 27, Reuters reported that Iran had resumed making loan payments to the World Bank, even though Tehran had suspended the repayments in July and the World Bank had not included Iran in World Bank lending since 2005.
On the same day, President Obama spoke by telephone with Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, marking the historic first direct conversation between leaders in Washington and Tehran under its mullah-led regime, established by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.
The last conversation between a U.S. and Iranian president had occurred between President Carter and Iranian Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi shortly before Pahlavi was overthrown by the Islamic revolution and forced to flee Iran.
The telephone conversation between Obama and Rouhani came at the end of the United Nations General Assembly session in which both leaders spoke. It followed unsuccessful diplomatic efforts to get the two leaders to meet in person in New York at the U.N.
During his trip to New York to speak at the U.N., Rouhani met with Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, to discuss Iran’s economic policies and steps it might take to deepen relationships with the IMF, as reported by ABC News.
On Sept. 28, the Shanghai Daily reported in China the International Bank for Reconstruction and Redevelopment under the World Bank Group had moved all loans to the Islamic Republic of Iran from non-performing status to performing status following Iran’s payment of all overdue amounts on the loans.
Iran moves central bank toward independence
Then, a little more than two weeks later, on Oct. 14, Bloomberg reported Iran’s government-controlled central bank would be granted more independence after Rouhani agreed to separate monetary and fiscal policies. Bankers working within Iran’s central bank would be given the authority to set interest rates independently, separate from any intervention exercised by government officials in charge of determining fiscal policy.
While the decision still retains government control over Iran’s central bank, Iran’s Money and Credit Council, headed by the central bank chief, will be responsible for administering Iran’s monetary policy, including interest-rate setting.
On Oct. 22, Reuters reported Mohammad Nahavandian, a member of Iran’s Money and Credit Council, said a rise in interest rates that was being studied although the Iranian central bank would have to move slowly. He pointed to the continued weakness of the Iranian economy under the sanctions imposed by the United States and the P5+1 Western nations, consisting of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the U.S., Russia, China, U.K. and France – plus Germany.
Reuters noted the move was interpreted as a sign Rouhani intends to fundamentally change course from government-controlled monetary policy as determined under Iran’s previous president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“After taking office on Aug. 3, Rouhani promised to improve economic management and appointed a new central bank governor, Valiollah Seif, who called for ‘disciplined financial practices,’” Reuters noted. “The Tehran Times quoted Seif as saying earlier that Rouhani had agreed to give the central bank more independence to focus on controlling inflation and the money supply.”
Next, the IMF decided to visit Iran from Oct. 29 through Nov. 7 with a mission “to review economic developments in the country.”
The Iranian central bank reported on the visit by the IMF Mission to Iran as follows:
The IMF mission held discussions with senior officials from the central bank and government, as well as with a broad spectrum of representatives from financial institutions and the business community. These discussions focused on the need for Iran to tackle high inflation and restore economic growth, as well as on the need for Iran to begin addressing long-standing policy and structural challenges in the economy. These challenges include the monetary and fiscal policy frameworks, the implementation of the subsidy reform, and the reforms in the banking and corporate sectors to revive growth. The authorities’ understanding of the challenges and the high expectations of several sectors in the economy provide a timely opportunity for advancing such reforms, notwithstanding the difficult external environment.
Then, on Nov. 24, the P5+1, with the blessing of the Obama administration, announced in Geneva a deal had been reached with Iran to reduce sanctions, including the release of $4 billion in Iranian assets seized by the U.S. government during previous sanctions. In return, Iran would limit uranium enrichment and cooperate with the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, on increased international inspections of Iran’s nuclear program.
Finally, as WND reported last week, although the White House has denied reports surfacing in Arabic-language newspapers that President Obama was planning a trip to Tehran in the middle of next year, Tehran moved to capitalize on the P5+1 deal by seeking to increase oil production with an aim to resume full participation as OPEC’s second largest oil-producing member nation.
WND further reported Rouhani continues to insist Iran has a sovereign right to continue uranium enrichment despite the new agreement reached in Geneva.
International private banking and oil interests
WND reported in February 2006 that Saddam Hussein, in effect, signed his death warrant in 2000 when Iraq received U.N. permission to sell Iraqi oil for euros, not dollars, as well as U.N. permission to convert the Iraqi $10 billion oil-for-food reserve fund from dollars to euros.
“Many administration critics argue today that the real reason for invading Iraq in 2003 was not to remove WMD from Iraq or to establish freedom but to preserve the dollar dominance of the world’s oil market,” WND reported at the time.
At that time, WND reported the real reasons for the increased concern over Iran had less to do with its secret nuclear weapons program and threats to destroy Israel than with the threats of developing a system of international private banking and the politics of oil.
In August 2006, WND reported that on July 11, 2000, at the Lome Summit in Togo, the states constituting the Organization of African Unity signed a declaration to form the 53-nation African Union.
While the African Union professed to respect the sovereignty of the individual countries constituting the group, it still has created executive, legislative and judicial bodies required for regional government, including an African Union Executive Council, a Pan-African Parliament, an African Union Court of Justice and an African Central Bank.
The goal of the African Central Bank was to create an African single continental currency, named the “Gold Mandela” after South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela.
After being named the chairman of the African Union, Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi moved to settle Libyan oil transactions in a new gold-backed Libyan dinar.
On March 19, 2011, the rebels opposing Gadhafi in the Transitional National Council designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as an independent Libyan central bank monetary authority capable of countering a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted March 17, 2011, freezing the foreign assets of the Libyan National Oil Corporation and the Central Bank of Libya.
On the same day, March 19, 2011, the U.S., participating in the multi-nation NATO coalition, began a military intervention into Libya that resulted in the capture and death of Gadhafi.
‘Banksters’ and the central bank end-game
In an article published by GlobalResearch.org Sept. 4, Ellen Brown, the president of the Public Banking Institute, argued the U.S. Treasury supported requiring World Trade Organization member states to transition government central banks into privately owned and operated central banks that would participate with international banking organizations, including the World Bank, the IMF and the BIS.
Brown identified seven Islamic “rogue” nations, where usury was forbidden by Islamic tradition, that were holdouts to the Financial Services Agreement of the World Trade Organization: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan.
“What did these countries have in common?” Brown asked. “Besides being Islamic, they were not members either of the WTO or of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That left them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland. Other countries later identified as ‘rogue states’ that were also not members of the BIS included North Korea, Cuba and Afghanistan.”
She continued: “The body regulating banks today is called the Financial Stability Board (FSB), and it is housed in the BIS in Switzerland. In 2009, the heads of the G20 nations agreed to be bound by rules imposed by the FSB, ostensibly to prevent another global banking crisis. Its regulations are not merely advisory but are binding, and they can make or break not just banks but whole nations.”
Eye on Syria
Meanwhile, with Syria not yet moving along a similar monetary track as Iran, the Obama administration continues to press to obtain a U.N.-backed coalition willing to attack the Assad regime.
WND has reported credible evidence that the rebels in Syria, not the Assad government, are responsible for launching chemical attacks. WND has also reported U.N. investigators have failed to establish indisputable proof Assad’s government is culpable in the chemical attacks, while credible evidence continues to mount blaming the rebels.
Recent revelations by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh suggest the Obama administration has not been honest with the American people in accusing the Assad regime of chemical attacks that killed hundreds of civilians, reinforcing the impression the U.S. is selectively using intelligence information as a pretext for war in Syria.
WND reader Hank Sullivan contributed to the research in this story.