Friday, February 03, 2006

The Left, and Right, Wing Anti-War Commentators Promoting the War on Iran

Originally published as ‘Mike Whitney Promoting war on Iran?’ February 3rd 2006
Updated March 11th 2006
A number of commentators hold that the primary reason america will attack iran is to defend the dollar as a global currency. Iran is alleged to be threatening the role of the dollar as the sole currency for oil transactions by setting up an oil bourse on which oil can be bought and sold for euros – just as saddam threatened the dollar by selling iraqi oil for euros. Paradoxically, most of those supporting such an hypothesis are anti-war commentators – both on the left and the (paleo) right wing.

The big political danger of the petro-dollar explanation of the war against iran is that both left, and right, wing anti-war activists are in effect providing a justification for the war they are supposedly seeking to avert. Although the proponents of the petro-dollar hypothesis are anti-war, and personally do not regard the petro-dollar hypothesis as a justification for an american attack on iran, it has to be suggested that for many americans this hypothesis would provide sufficient justification for war. If americans are told that iran is devaluing the dollar in their pocket and threatening to bring about the collapse of the american economy they are going to want to know why america hasn’t started bombing iran. In their eyes, such a war would be self-defence, defending their way of life. There is a considerable danger that anti-war critics are going to find their explanation for the likelihood of an american attack on iran is a self fulfilling prophesy which helps to win popular support for the war.

This article highlights the commentators promoting the petro-dollar hypothesis but does not seek to examine the merits of this hypothesis. For an exploration of the merits of the petro-dollar hypothesis please see the chapter ‘The Dollar as a Global Currency’ in ‘The Prospects of a Nuclear Attack on Iran’.

The Economic Origins of the Petro-Dollar/Oil Bourse Thesis.
The idea that iran’s proposed oil bourse would pose a threat to the global supremacy of the dollar started primarily as an economic speculation.

William Clarke.
"The Iranians are about to commit an "offense" far greater than Saddam Hussein's conversion to the euro of Iraq’s oil exports in the fall of 2000. Numerous articles have revealed Pentagon planning for operations against Iran as early as 2005. While the publicly stated reasons will be over Iran's nuclear ambitions, there are unspoken macroeconomic drivers explaining the Real Reasons regarding the 2nd stage of petrodollar warfare - Iran's upcoming euro-based oil Bourse. In 2005-2006, The Tehran government developed a plan to begin competing with New York's NYMEX and London's IPE with respect to international oil trades - using a euro-denominated international oil-trading mechanism. This means that without some form of US intervention, the euro is going to establish a firm foothold in the international oil trade. Given U.S. debt levels and the stated neoconservative project for U.S. global domination, Tehran's objective constitutes an obvious encroachment on U.S. dollar supremacy in the international oil market." (William Clark ‘The Real Reasons Why Iran is the Next Target’ October 27th 2004).

Krassimir Petrov.
"The Iranian government has finally developed the ultimate "nuclear" weapon that can swiftly destroy the financial system underpinning the American Empire. That weapon is the Iranian Oil Bourse slated to open in March 2006. Whatever the strategic choice, from a purely economic point of view, should the Iranian Oil Bourse gain momentum, it will be eagerly embraced by major economic powers and will precipitate the demise of the dollar." (Krassimir Petrov ‘The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse’ January 17th 2006).

Emilie Rutledge.
"This is primarily because of Iran's reported intention to invoice energy contracts in euros rather than dollars. The contention that this could unseat the dollar's dominance as the de facto currency for oil transactions may be overstated, but this has not stopped many commentators from linking America's current political disquiet with Iran to the proposed Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB)." (Emilie Rutledge ‘Iran - a threat to the petrodollar?’ November 03 2005).

Craig Paul Roberts.
"The US has become the world's largest debtor, in hock to foreigners for one-fourth of our Gross Domestic Product. The ratio of US external debt (what we owe to foreigners) and US exports is approaching the crisis ratios of banana republics. It is inevitable: America's mounting debts will produce a crisis. The dollar's value will plummet, and US living standards will drop. Everything will become more expensive for Americans. The perilous condition of the dollar is one of the reasons Bush invaded Iraq. What keeps the overvalued dollar up is the fact that it is the currency in which the Middle East bills its oil. Every country has to purchase dollars in order to pay for its oil, and these purchases keep the dollar afloat. Just prior to the US invasion, sanctions on Iraqi oil had run their course and were about to be removed. Saddam Hussein intended to bill Iraqi oil in Euros, which could have started the abandonment of the dollar by the oil producing countries. Instead of fixing our economic problems, we started a war." (Paul Craig Roberts ‘War, Outsourcing and Debt’ September 29, 2004).

He continued to support such an idea even up to the beginning of 2006, "Indeed, a number of thinkers (William Clark and Krassimir Petrov, for example) have concluded that the reason that the Pentagon has plans to attack Iran is Iran's intention to establish an international oil exchange in which anyone can buy or sell oil in any currency. Such an exchange, it is argued, would spell the dollar's death as the currency in which oil is billed. With countries no longer needing dollars in order to pay their oil bills, the demand for dollars and dollar denominated assets would decline. The dollar would further depreciate, bringing crisis to import-dependent America." (Paul Craig Roberts ‘Cheney's War Workshop Plots Another Attack’ January 23, 2006).

The Left Wing, Anti-war Commentators who have taken up the Oil Bourse Thesis.

The left/anti-war wing of the political spectrum (in both america and britain) is so dominated by jews that it will support any fantasy to avoid blaming the jews-only state in palestine, the jewish owned media in america, the jewish lobby in america, and the israelis in the bush administration, for pushing america into an invasion of iraq and an attack on iran. The petro-dollar hypothesis has three main advantages for the jewish dominated left wing, anti-war movement. Firstly, it reinforces the idea of an american empire thereby implying that the jews-only state in palestine and the jewish lobby in america are insignificant agents of american global power. Secondly, it suggests that america’s economic/financial interests are under threat when they are not. Thirdly, it diminishes the role played by the jews-only state in palestine, the jewish dominated american media, the jewish lobby in america, and the israelis in the bush administration, in pushing america into a war against iran for the benefit of the jews-only state.

The jewish dominated left finds it impossible to countenance the idea that jews have taken control of the american political system and are using america’s colossal military power to boost the regional supremacy of the jews-only state in palestine – at the expense of american interests. For the jews on the left, the petro-dollar hypothesis is invaluable because it helps to protect the jews-only state in palestine from adverse political criticism.

The influence of jews on the left/ anti-war movement has become so poisonous and corrupting that in order to protect the jews-only state in palestine they are willing to promote a thesis which provides the american public with a rationale for an attack on iran. Although left wing jews pretend they are opposed to the war against iran many would secretly applaud such a war because of the benefits it will bring to the jews-only state in palestine - even though it will have calamitous consequences on america’s economic and military interests.

Mike Whitney.
"Iran's future oil and natural gas wealth foreshadow its growth into a regional competitor to Israel as well as an energy-independent powerhouse. Their stated intention to sell resources via their own, homegrown bourse, is a direct threat to the existing economic system. It would greatly increase trade in petro-euros and send the dollar into a downward spiral. The importance of this cannot be overstated. The heart-and-soul of the empire is the Greenback; that flaccid, debt-ridden hoax that props-up the entire rickety structure of state-terror. The $8 trillion dollars of accumulated debt that underwrites the greenback requires that the world continue to buy oil in dollars. The transition from dollars to petro-euros is a direct assault on a system that forces the lavish debt of the wealthiest nations onto the shoulders of the world's poorest people." (Mike Whitney ‘Edging Towards Disaster with Iran’ October 9th 2005). See also, "the proposed "euro-based" bourse and the devastating effects it will have on the greenback." (Mike Whitney ‘Battle Plans for Iran’ January 31, 2006).

Thierry Meyssan.
"At the same time, Iran is preparing « a world without Israel and the USA ». Tehran is optimistic about putting in place an oil spot market which doesn’t accept dollars. This is already working at an experimental stage. If no nation has officially announced its participation, many are encouraging participation through private companies acting as intermediaries. Now, the dollar is an overvalued currency whose value is maintained essentially by its role as a petro-currency. Such a spot market, once really up and running, would provoke a collapse of the dollar, comparable to hat of 1939, even if its transactions only amounted to a tenth of the world turnover. US power would be undermined by the falling dollar and, in time, Israel would also find itself bankrupt." (Thierry Meyssan ‘The hidden stakes in the Iran crisis’ February 4, 2006).

Michael Keefer.
"The coming attack on Iran has nothing whatsoever to do with concerns about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Its primary motive, as oil analyst William Clark has argued, is rather a determination to ensure that the U.S. dollar remains the sole world currency for oil trading. Iran plans in March 2006 to open a Teheran Oil Bourse in which all trading will be carried out in Euros. This poses a direct threat to the status of the U.S. dollar as the principal world reserve currency - and hence also to a trading system in which massive U.S. trade deficits are paid for with paper money whose accepted value resides, as Krassimir Petrov notes, in its being the currency in which international oil trades are denominated. (U.S. dollars are effectively exchangeable for oil in somewhat the same way that, prior to 1971, they were at least in theory exchangeable for gold)." (Michael Keefer ‘Petrodollars and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation: Understanding the Planned Assault on Iran’ February 10, 2006).

Geov Parrish.
"It preferably wants regime change before Tehran follows through on its threat to convert the currency in which it sells its oil from dollars to euros - a precedent-setting move that could have dire global consequences for the dollar as the international currency of choice, and, hence, ugly long-term consequences for the debt- and trade-deficit-riddled American economy." (Geov Parrish ‘The next war?’ February 15th 2006).

Toni Straka.
"A decline of the dollar's position in oil trading might also open the floodgates in other commodity markets where the dollar is the medium of exchange but where the US has only a minority market share." (Toni Straka ‘Killing the dollar in Iran’ Aug 26, 2005).

John Pilger.
"the prospect of an American attack on Iran, which is very real and probably imminent. Blair knows this. He also knows the real reasons for an attack and the part Britain is likely to play. Next month, Iran is scheduled to shift its petrodollars into a euro-based bourse. The effect on the value of the dollar will be significant, if not, in the long term, disastrous. At present the dollar is, on paper, a worthless currency bearing the burden of a national debt exceeding $8trn and a trade deficit of more than $600bn. The cost of the Iraq adventure alone, according to the Nobel Prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz, could be $2trn. America's military empire, with its wars and 700-plus bases and limitless intrigues, is funded by creditors in Asia, principally China. That oil is traded in dollars is critical in maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency. What the Bush regime fears is not Iran's nuclear ambitions but the effect of the world's fourth-biggest oil producer and trader breaking the dollar monopoly. Will the world's central banks then begin to shift their reserve holdings and, in effect, dump the dollar? Saddam Hussein was threatening to do the same when he was attacked." (John Pilger ‘The Next War: Crossing the Rubicon’ February 10th 2006).

The Laboratoire Européen d’Anticipation Politique Europe.
"The Laboratoire Européen d’Anticipation Politique Europe 2020, LEAP/E2020, now estimates to over 80% the probability that the week of March 20-26, 2006 will be the beginning of the most significant political crisis the world has known since the Fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, together with an economic and financial crisis of a scope comparable with that of 1929. This last week of March 2006 will be the turning-point of a number of critical developments, resulting in an acceleration of all the factors leading to a major crisis, disregard any American or Israeli military intervention against Iran. In case such an intervention is conducted, the probability of a major crisis to start rises up to 100%, according to LEAP/E2020. The announcement of this crisis results from the analysis of decisions taken by the two key-actors of the main on-going international crisis, i.e. the United States and Iran:

- on the one hand there is the Iranian decision of opening the first oil bourse priced in Euros on March 20th, 2006 in Teheran, available to all oil producers of the region ;

- on the other hand, there is the decision of the American Federal Reserve to stop publishing M3 figures (the most reliable indicator on the amount of dollars circulating in the world) from March 23, 2006 onward[1].

These two decisions constitute altogether the indicators, the causes and the consequences of the historical transition in progress between the order created after World War II and the new international equilibrium in gestation since the collapse of the USSR. Their magnitude as much as their simultaneity will catalyse all the tensions, weaknesses and imbalances accumulated since more than a decade throughout the international system." (The Laboratoire européen d’Anticipation Politique Europe 2020, LEAP/E2020 ‘Iran-USA, beginning of a major world crisis’ February 25 2006).

Heather Wokusch.
"In the eyes of the Bush administration, however, Iran's worst transgression has less to do with nuclear ambitions or anti-Semitism than with the petro-euro oil bourse Tehran is slated to open in March 2006. Iran's plan to allow oil trading in euros threatens to break the dollar's monopoly as the global reserve currency, and since the greenback is severely overvalued due to huge trade deficits, the move could be devastating for the US economy." (Heather Wokusch ‘WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran’ Feb. 19, 2006).

Whilst heather wokusch’s sympathies clearly lay on the left and are anti-war she does surprisingly manage to slip an extreme right wing zionist idea into her article, "It would incite the Lebanese Hezbollah, an ally of Iran's, potentially sparking increased global terrorism." (Heather Wokusch ‘WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran’ Feb. 19, 2006).

She even peddles chomsky argument that turkey will support a zionist attack on iran, "Given what's at stake, few allies, apart from Israel, can be expected to support a US attack on Iran. While Jacques Chirac has blustered about using his nukes defensively, it's doubtful that France would join an unprovoked assault, and even loyal allies, such as the UK, prefer going through the UN Security Council. Which means the wildcard is Turkey. The nation shares a border with Iran, and according to Noam Chomsky, is heavily supported by the domestic Israeli lobby in Washington, permitting 12% of the Israeli air and tank force to be stationed in its territory. Turkey's crucial role in an attack on Iran explains why there's been a spurt of high-level US visitors to Ankara lately, including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, FBI Director Robert Mueller and CIA Director Porter Goss. In fact, the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported in December 2005 that Goss had told the Turkish government it would be "informed of any possible air strikes against Iran a few hours before they happened" and that Turkey had been given a "green light" to attack camps of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iran "on the day in question." (Heather Wokusch ‘WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran’ Feb. 19, 2006).

The Right Wing, Anti-War Commentators who have taken up the Oil Bourse Thesis.

Ron Paul.
"It’s not likely that maintaining dollar supremacy was the only motivating factor for the war against Iraq, nor for agitating against Iran. Though the real reasons for going to war are complex, we now know the reasons given before the war started, like the presence of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s connection to 9/11, were false. The dollar’s importance is obvious, but this does not diminish the influence of the distinct plans laid out years ago by the neo-conservatives to remake the Middle East. Israel’s influence, as well as that of the Christian Zionists, likewise played a role in prosecuting this war. Protecting "our" oil supplies has influenced our Middle East policy for decades." (Ron Paul ‘The End of Dollar Hegemony’ February 15, 2006).

Paul Sheldon Foote.
Paul sheldon foote accepts the iranian oil bourse thesis. He circulated an article highlighting the supposed dangers of an iranian bourse, "The neo-conservatives (neo-Trotskyites) have been lying about exporting American democracy and values. These are some of the real reasons why these American traitors want to bomb Iran and establish a totalitarian regime for the Iranian Communist MEK (Rajavi Cult) terrorists." ( February 5th 2006).

The Bush Administration’s Disinterest in the Petro-Dollar/Oil Bourse Thesis to Promote a War against Iran.
Despite the fact that both left and right wing anti-war commentators believe that the real reason for the war against iran is the establishment of iran’s oil bourse nobody in the bush administration or the neocon media has made any comment about it.

The Right Wing use of the Petro-Dollar/Oil Bourse Thesis to Promote a War against Iran.
The petro-dollar hypothesis is a legitimate economic speculation but politically it could be used to provide america with a seemingly legitimate excuse for a war against iran. This section highlights the commentators seeking to do precisely that.

Jerome R. Corsi
The first right wing commentator to start using left wing arguments to support the war is jerome r. corsi who acknowledges the source of his ideas, "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. These same critics argue today that the real reason for the ramp-up of concern over Iran has nothing to do with Iran's secret nuclear weapons program or with President Ahmadinejad's threats to destroy Israel but everything to do with oil." (Jerome R. Corsi ‘Will Iran's 'petroeuro' threat lead to war?’ February 3, 2006).

Corsi points out that, "Today, about 70 percent of the world's international foreign currency reserves are held in dollars. If the petroeuro begins to challenge the petrodollar, this percentage could diminish drastically. The United States depends on the dollar foreign-currency reserves in order to sell the Treasury debt that sustains budget deficits. What if foreign-exchange portfolios from oil sales fell to 60 percent being held in dollars – would that cause a crisis in the U.S. economy? Or would it take 55 percent? Most Americans are completely unaware of this threat Iran represents to the U.S. economy." (Jerome R. Corsi ‘Will Iran's 'petroeuro' threat lead to war?’ February 3, 2006). He points out the dangers of a challenge to the petro-dollar to america’s poor, "Clearly, any threat to petrodollar holdings could undermine social programs in the U.S., including Medicare and key welfare programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families." (Jerome R. Corsi ‘Will Iran's 'petroeuro' threat lead to war?’ February 3, 2006). He concludes, "If the Iranians persist in creating a market mechanism to settle world oil transactions in the euro, the United States will attack just to preserve the oil market for the dollar. If Iran does open an oil bourse next month, we should expect the warplanes will soon thereafter begin to fly." (Jerome R. Corsi ‘Will Iran's 'petroeuro' threat lead to war?’ February 3, 2006). Corsi is the author of some highly illuminating works such as co-authoring with John O'Neill the No. 1 New York Times best-seller, "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry." and the sizzler, "Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians."

"In "Black Gold Stranglehold," Jerome Corsi and Craig Smith expose the fraudulent science that has made America so vulnerable: the belief that oil is a fossil fuel and that it is a finite resource. This book reveals the conclusions reached by Dr. Thomas Gold, a professor at Cornell University, in his seminal book "The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels" (Copernicus Books, 1998) and accepted by many in the scientific community that oil is not a product of fossils and prehistoric forests but rather the bio-product of a continuing biochemical reaction below the earth's surface that is brought to attainable depths by the centrifugal forces of the earth's rotation." (Review of Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D. and Craig R. Smith ‘Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil’ c.February 2006).

Critics of the Petrodollars Hypothesis.
Paul Craig Roberts.
It was pointed out above that craig paul roberts was one of the main economists highlighting the danger of iran’s oil bourse. He has recently changed his mind. "Will an Iranian oil bourse hurt the dollar? Not really. The dollar's value depends on the world's willingness to hold dollar denominated assets, not on the currency used to pay oil bills. If payments were not made in dollars, there could be a slight negative impact on the dollar from countries reducing their dollar cash balances and from the psychological shock of pricing oil in Euros (or some other currency). However, what really counts is what do the oil producers, for example, do with the currency that they are paid. If they are paid in dollars, but exchange the dollars for Euros or Yen and purchase equities or bonds or real estate in Europe and Japan, it doesn't help that oil is billed in dollars. Or if they are paid in Euros but exchange the Euros for dollars and purchase US assets, it doesn't hurt that the oil is billed in Euros." (Paul Craig Roberts ‘Paul Craig Roberts on the Iranian Oil Bourse’ February 11th 2006). "The negative impact on the dollar will be far greater from the additional red ink necessary to finance an attack on Iran than from an oil bourse." (Paul Craig Roberts ‘Paul Craig Roberts on the Iranian Oil Bourse’ February 11th 2006).

Jeff Blankfort.
Blankfort sent out the following email concerning michael keefer’s article ‘Petrodollars and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation’ February 15th 2006. "I am forwarding this, not because I agree with the writers' premise, that there will be a US attack on Iran -which I don't -but because it has become typical of the scholarship, or lack of same, that has come to distinguish what passes for the opposition to US foreign policy. I am also aware that it will be spread by unthinking, well-meaning others as the gospel truth. Apart from the glaring absence of any mention what effect an attack on Iran would have on the situation in Iraq which has a very long border with Iran, Keefer's noting that "Michel Chossudovsky wrote in May 2005, [about] widespread reports that George W. Bush had "signed off on" an attack on Iran," is but one example of the lack of scholarship as well as analysis on the writer's part, a failing he shares with other pundits who have taken that allegation seriously.

First, there were no "widespread reports" of Bush taking this action. It was dropped as an aside by Scott Ritter, in February, 2005, when he was speaking in Seattle, and neither he nor anyone else has been able to substantiate it. Why Ritter, an ex-Marine and now a famous ex-WMD inspector (as well as a strong supporter of Israel, who acknowledges having worked with Israeli intelligence under Barak) would have access to such information, he and no one else, did not seem to trouble those who were sure that the US was going to bomb Iran last June as Ritter had stated (and which he subsequently rationalized when it didn't happen as did the unoriginal Chussodovsky in the statement below).

It is also curious that when Ritter recently stated and has written that John Bolton's speech writer told him that he has already written the speech Bolton will make at the UN to justify a forthcoming US attack, that no one, at least publicly, has wondered why this speech writer would not only violate a speech writer's required anonymity, but why he would tell this to someone who appears, at least publicly, to oppose the US war on Iraq. So let me express my wonderment and my doubts, not only about that but about the US attacking Iran, at all.

What Keefer and the others never write about is critical and its absence from their analysis is inexcusable, namely, that given that a sizeable segment of the Iraqi troops being trained in Iraq are loyal to the pro-Iranian SCIRI and Dawa parties, both of which were founded in Iran in 1982, it is logical that their guns would be turned on the US and British soldiers as Mokata Sadr has already promised to do with his Mahdi army should the US attack Iran. Add to this, the ability of Iran to block the Straits of Hormuz and block shipping in the Gulf would be devastating for the world oil market and, sooner or later, for all of the Western economies. In an election year, gas at $6 and $7 a gallon is not what the voters want to see. The conversion of Iran to euros, also mentioned, as a reason, does not stand up to analysis either. What we are seeing is a game of international poker, with the US spreading this disinformation about a pending attack as a high stakes bluff, aided, ironically, by a host of the administration's critics whose shallow analysis seems to be part of our daily email fare. The Iranians know they have the winning hand for this round, at least." (Jeff Blankfort" February 15th 2006).

Chris Cook.
Whilst commentators talk as if iran’s oil bourse will definitely be established in march 2006, iran is nowhere near to opening the doors of its new exchange. One of the financial directors involved in setting up the bourse is amused at the prospect that he is about to bring down the global economy, "It is therefore with wry amusement that I have seen a myth being widely propagated on the Internet that the genesis of this "Iran bourse" project is a wish to subvert the US dollar by denominating oil pricing in euros." (Chris Cook ‘What the Iran 'nuclear issue' is really about’ Jan 21, 2006). He points out the difficulties he’s experienced setting up the bourse. Firstly, the "turf battles between the Oil Ministry and the Ministry for the Economy". Then, after the election in 2005 of the new iranian president, the three attempts to appoint a new oil minister. "Three times over a period of three months an oil minister was nominated by the new president, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, from among his trusted colleagues and three times they were turned down by the majlis (Iranian parliament), until finally an experienced insider was appointed in early December." Further delays followed because, "Ahmadinejad is on record as saying that he favors transparency in the Iranian oil market. As anyone familiar with the City of London and Wall Street will know, transparency is the enemy of private profit, and it is this factor that was behind the delays in developing the bourse project."

Mathew Maavak.
The iranians have not even decided on a marker for the oil to be sold. "The Iranians so far have not indicated whether they have come up with an oil marker - a euro-denominated oil pricing standard - like the dollar denominated West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI), Norway Brent crude, and the UAE Dubai crude." (Mathew Maavak ‘Beware The Ides Of March’ February 7th 2006).

Ann Berg.
"If you're waiting for the Iranian oil bourse (IOB) – the proposed euro-based petroleum futures exchange in Tehran – to overthrow the global dollar-based economy, don't hold your breath. Establishing a futures-trading mechanism to compete with the powerhouses of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) for the oil trade is as probable as U.S. energy independence in our lifetime." (Ann Berg ‘Is the IOB DOA?: The Iranian oil bourse: theory and reality’ February 28, 2006).