Sleepless in Tehran

Watching oil prices fall from $147 a barrel to $57 is not like counting sheep


Sleepless in Tehran

I've always been dubious about Barack Obama's offer to negotiate with Iran — not because I didn't believe that it was the right strategy, but because I didn't believe we had enough leverage to succeed. And negotiating in the Middle East without leverage is like playing baseball without a bat.
Well, if Obama does win the presidency, my gut tells me that he's going to get a chance to negotiate with the Iranians — with a bat in his hand.
Have you seen the reports that Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is suffering from exhaustion? It's probably because he is not sleeping at night. I know why. Watching oil prices fall from $147 a barrel to $57 is not like counting sheep. It's the kind of thing that gives an Iranian autocrat bad dreams.
After all, it was the collapse of global oil prices in the early 1990s that brought down the Soviet Union. And Iran today is looking very Soviet to me.
As Vladimir Mau, president of Russia's Academy of National Economy, pointed out to me, it was the long period of high oil prices followed by sharply lower oil prices that killed the Soviet Union. The spike in oil prices in the 1970s deluded the Kremlin into overextending subsidies at home and invading Afghanistan abroad — and then the collapse in prices in the '80s helped bring down that overextended empire.
(Incidentally, this was exactly what happened to the shah of Iran: 1) Sudden surge in oil prices. 2) Delusions of grandeur. 3) Sudden contraction of oil prices. 4) Dramatic downfall. 5) You're toast.)
Under Ahmadinejad, Iran's mullahs have gone on a domestic subsidy binge — using oil money to cushion the prices of food, gasoline, mortgages and to create jobs — to buy off the Iranian people. But the one thing Ahmadinejad couldn't buy was real economic growth. Iran today has 30 percent inflation, 11 percent unemployment and huge underemployment with thousands of young college grads, engineers and architects selling pizzas and driving taxis. And now with oil prices falling, Iran — just like the Soviet Union — is going to have to pull back spending across the board. Fasten your seat belts.
The U.N. has imposed three rounds of sanctions against Iran since Ahmadinejad took office in 2005 because of Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment. But high oil prices minimized those sanctions; collapsing oil prices will now magnify those sanctions. If prices stay low, there is a good chance Iran will be open to negotiating over its nuclear program with the next U.S. president.
That is a good thing because Iran also funds Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and the anti-U.S. Shiites in Iraq. If America wants to get out of Iraq and leave behind a decent outcome, plus break the deadlocks in Lebanon and Israel-Palestine, it needs to end the cold war with Iran. Possible? I don't know, but the collapse of oil prices should give us a shot.
But let's use our leverage smartly and not exaggerate Iran's strength. Just as I believe that we should drop the reward for the capture of Osama bin Laden — from $50 million to one penny, plus an autographed picture of Dick Cheney — we need to deflate the Iranian mullahs as well. Let them chase us.
Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, compares it to bargaining for a Persian carpet in Tehran. "When you go inside the carpet shop, the first thing you are supposed to do is feign disinterest," he explains. "The last thing you want to suggest is 'We are not leaving without that carpet.' 'Well,' the dealer will say, 'if you feel so strongly about it ...' "
The other lesson from the carpet bazaar, says Sadjadpour, "is that there is never a price tag on any carpet. The dealer is not looking for a fixed price, but the highest price he can get — and the Iran price is constantly fluctuating depending on the price of oil." Let's now use that to our advantage.
Barack Hussein Obama would present another challenge for Iran's mullahs. Their whole rationale for being is that they are resisting a hegemonic American power that wants to keep everyone down. Suddenly, next week, Iranians may look up and see that the country their leaders call "The Great Satan" has just elected "a guy whose middle name is the central figure in Shiite Islam — Hussein — and whose last name — Obama — when transliterated into Farsi, means 'He is with us,' " said Sadjadpour.
Iran is ripe for deflating. Its power was inflated by the price of oil and the popularity of its leader, who was cheered simply because he was willing to poke America with a stick. But as a real nation-building enterprise, the Islamic Revolution in Iran has been an abject failure.
"When you ask young Arabs which leaders in the region they most admire," said Sadjadpour, they will usually answer the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. "When you ask them where in the Middle East would you most like to live," he added, "the answer is usually socially open places like Dubai or Beirut. The Islamic Republic of Iran is never in the top 10."

First published in the New York Times.



IR is the reason for our independence

by XerXes (not verified) on

You guys are fooling yourselves, you think that the world would have let Iran be if Iran didn't have the power. Iran is the Super power of the region, get it in to your weak heads. We are not Shah or Ghajar no more. We are Islamic Republic.


Most Excellent, Vali Faghih.

by SWP (not verified) on

Most Excellent, Vali Faghih.

The sad part is that I really do wish Jaleho was right but unfortunately, she is not. Mullah's false bravado and incredible hubris are going to lead Iran to a very dangerous path and it will cost Iranians blood and treasure in a unwinnable war between the West/Israel and the IRI. Very sad, indeed.


anon8: You really are living

by SWP (not verified) on

anon8: You really are living in an alternate universe, if you think the scale of plundering of the IRI is equal or less than the pahlavis' era..

History will reveal that no government in over 2500 years has caused more damage in terms of opportunity cost and squandering of irreplacable resources than the Islamic Republic. Future generation of Iranians will not look kindly to Islam or the IRI.

Your so-called uprising of 1978 was a manufactured coup courtesy of your "beloved" Great Satan and Carter et al. How long are you going to stay ignorant and perpetuate what the imperialists want you to believe?

U.S. policies may have contributed to Iran revolution, study says


Manufactured coup of 1979: " A Centure of War" by William Engdhall


What really happened to the Shah of Iran:
Excerpts from the book:


Report: U.S. Missteps Led To Shah's Overthrow NPR


The installation of Ayatollah by the West:


Carter's Habitat of inhumanity:


Complicity of France in Manufacturing the Iranian Revolution and Jimmy Carter's betrayal of the Iranian People



Iran is a great country, even now

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

sorry you can't stand it SWP. That is your problem. Corruption/plundering/raping reached its highest highs during the fased regime of the Pahlavis who were so increadibly corrupt that Iranians had to rise up and kick them out.



by SWP (not verified) on

Answer this question:

If Iran was such a utopia, why is it that Iranians trying to leave Iran in droves? How come Iranians did not leave Iran as much as they do now? Why do Iranians leave Iran even at the exorbitant price of being away from their loved ones forever???

I wish you were right about Iran, I wish Iran was better than it was during the Shah but alas it's not, no jobs, no future for the youth, highest rate of drug addiction, massive corruption, massive plundering and raping of the country,squandering irreplacable national wealth by funding terrorists etc...The only thing Iran has been able to excel in is terrorism and bullying enemies much bigger than herself... it's just heartbreaking because it didn't have to be like this, if the mullahs were not so incompetent and greedy.


Excellent Job SWP!

by Vali Fagih (not verified) on

It is silly what she is arguing.


You're dodging again. Why

by SWP (not verified) on

You're dodging again. Why not compare pre-pahlavi era with Pahlavi.

Now go find the statistic from Pre-Pahlavi era.

Copying technology from others does not count. I'm sure the IRI does not reveal all of its military imports since they are a "terroris" country and under sanction and the illegal imports I doubt very much that are documented.

IRI is a laughing stock around the globe for faking missile tests and building counterfeit arms by tweaking, adding the old technology. Just google for more info.

Refurbishing and slightly improving upon the existing technology does not constitute having a solid manufacturing base.

Even the car, Khodro, their engine is French. They can't even manufacture a car engine, let alone, manufacture a tank from scratch. BTW, some of the tanks were bought from Israel.

If the IRI was so advanced in technology, they wouldn't had to beg Europeans and Russians to build them refinaries, nuclear plants, railroads, etc.

IRI has become a cash cow for Russians. The russians never finish their project on time and continue to using all kinds of excuses to milk IRI indefinitely.

While you're at it, look at the GDP and incomer per capita in the 1970's and the GDP and income per capita for 2008 under Islamic Republic.

The fact is that these same exact issues have been discussed on this site before. You seem to be a late comer.

There are others on this site much more knowledgable than I and they can give you specific details.

If the IRI was as independent, technnologically advanced as they pretend to be, they wouldn't have to be so scared and spend their money on propaganda lobbies in the West to beg on their behalf for a **grand bargain**...
Use your common sense instead of your blind hatred.
This whole charade of being an arms exporter is laughable, actually it's not. It stems from extreme insecurity and fragility of the whole system.


More Great Analysis By Jaleho- NOT!

by Vali Fagih (not verified) on


Stay out of analyzing military power.

You say:

"Hezbollah, using Iranian 2nd rate rockets stood against Israel who begged the US to prevent a UN cease fire for over a month giving it time and emergency load of bombs. 350,000"

These were Ketyusha Rockets with no military value. They are not accurate and were effective only at damaging buildings and killing a few civilians here and there. They did not destroy any military targets. Not one piece of Israeli military target was destroyed by the 5000 ketyushas fired at Israel. Even my mama bozorg can fire Keyushas. Nothing to be proud of. In the First 30 minutes of the war, on the first day, "Israel arrogantly" destroyed all the long range IRI missiles in Hezbollah inventory (these included the Fajr & Zelzal missiles- North Korean technology)

"Since 1992, Iran has produced not only its tanks, rockets and missiles, but its own fighter planes and ships and exporeted $100 million of defense equipment"

1) As someone already mentioned below, the airplanes are based on 1950's technology. No value against the aircraft in possession of IRI's neighbors like Saudi Arabia (F15's & F16's......)

2) The tanks are made based on the British Cheftain tanks (also 1950's) with no advanced aiming technology. No match for the M1 or Bradley tanks possessed by IRI neighbors.

3) $100 Million in military exports? Are you kidding? You are proud of $100 million in military exports? $100 million is a cost of 2 F22 fighter jets or 50 tomahawk missiles. Compare this to $4 billion per year that "Israel arrogantly" sells to the world (Israel sells to USA, England, Germany, Turkey, India, China...) Can you please list the IRI customers for us so we can have more of a laugh?

4) "Iranian Nuclear Technology" does not exist. Its Russian nuclear technology. Remember Chernoboyl? IRI is purchasing Chernoboyl style nuclear power. They have to pay the Russians. Without the Russians, there is nothing. Zero. Sephr. Zilch.

5) Iranian Metro? What Iranian Metro? This Metro was not built by Iranians. The Metro was built by Chinese and Austrians. The IRI had to pay someone else to do it. What are you exactly proud of? Contracting foreigners and paying them to build a metro? See link on Metro history: //

6) Iranian Car industry- You talk as if the IRI actually manufactures these cars. It does not. Do they manufacture the engines? NO. All the cars are based on French models. There is a joint venture to build mercedes engines but who do you think designed the engines? The IRI? NO. Do you think they manufacture any of the major parts in Iran? Ohh- and yes- They are also producing a car just for woman! Jaleho, why do woman need a special car? Are Iranian woman drivers different than other women drivers in the world? Iran assembles cars for now and is exporting french made cars to the middle east. Its like Canada assembling GM cars in Canada and exporting them to USA. So what? Its not based on Iranian technology. Do you get it? The Korean are building everything, every single part in Korea, and are exporting to the entire world. The Koreans don't have oil, don't have Islam, have American Imperialist forces there since the 1950's and are kicking IRI's ass with their hands tied behind their back in world exports, GDP, GNP.......... Why?

Iranians are under performing because of so much regulation and lack of freedom under this idiotic regime. Iran ranks 142 in ease of doing business in the world.

See reports:



See: //

Jaleho, why don't you talk about these dismal statistics? The IRI is ranked 142 out of I76 nations. You are proud? The West bank & Gaza Rank Higher at 131 Jaleho. The Zionist Rank 30. Why? Its because of the Americans? The Zionists? The Monarchist? The Iraqis? The imperialists? Why don't you blame the IRI? The people who are actually in charge? Why do they get a free pass from you and all this nonsensical boasting from you when there is nothing to boast about?


Anonymous, SWP

by Jaleho on

Israel which arrogantly reminded everyone that it defeated combined Arab armies in 6 days, complained that a small militant group, Lebanon's Hezbollah, using Iranian 2nd rate rockets stood against Israel who begged the US to prevent a UN cease fire for over a month giving it time and emergency load of bombs. 350,000 Israelis had to be resettled to escape Hezbollah's rocket attacks. They didn't think those were fake.

The UN resolution against Iran's biting item was ban of Iranian arms EXPORT.

Since 1992, Iran has produced not only its tanks, rockets and missiles, but its own fighter planes and ships and exporeted $100 million of defense equipment. Compare that to Shah's $10 Billion IMPORT of military equipment in 1975. (To be revised to much higher in Shah's fifth 5 year plan)

check details here: //

Yet, our anonymous friend goes and finds a photoshop picture of some magazines exaggertaing missile excercises, did it have 3 or 4 missile?!! Iran doesn't have missiles.

And Iran's nuclear technology is all fake too? IAEA visits are fairy tale?

Is picture of Iran's metro all fake?

The statistics showing Iran has become the largest car exporter in the Middle East is all fake?

And, SWP, you requested sources for the info I provided. Here:

On Shah's military allocations:

The International Institute for Strategic Studies-London, quoted by Sampson-The arms Bazzar. Coronet Books, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1978.

For oil production data:

Energy Information Administration. Official Energy Statistics from the US Government.


Of fake missiles and photoshop

by Anonymous... (not verified) on


Oil was discovered by a British in 1904

by SWP (not verified) on

From blood and Oil

..."But Persians had little say in their own industry. How could they have, they were all illiterate peasants ruled by Feudal Sheikhs.

Oil was discovered in Iran by English prospectors in 1904, and by the outbreak of World War I, Persia's rich resources had become the British Empire's most important strategic prize: Two years earlier, the Royal Navy had begun converting its entire fleet from coal to oil. So vital was Persian oil to the war effort that London bought a controlling stake in Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. (AIOC), which held the concession.

As Farmanfarmaian discovered, Persians were second-class citizens in Abadan, the sweltering Persian Gulf town where AIOC owned and ran the world's largest refinery. More than 2,000 British executives had their clubs, private villas, and Indian bodyguards, while Persian employees toiled away on day wages without days off, education, or decent housing. Just 16 Iranians with British degrees had made it into AIOC's middle management by the early 1940s. And total segregation was the rule, as Farmanfarmaian learned when he tried getting a ride his first day of work. ''Mine's a British bus,'' shouted the driver. ''No Persians allowed.''

Such racist and imperious behavior fed growing anti-British resentment. To make matters worse, AIOC and the British government refused to increase royalties paid to Iran, though other oil producers in the region were starting to get far better deals. In the end, this led to Iran's fateful 1953 nationalization of AIOC.

The British era was over, and the American one had begun--''a presence that eventually proved too suffocating to bear,'' writes Farmanfarmaian. The Shah's disastrous, American-backed economic reforms in the early 1960s angered the elite and the middle class and led to the first revolt of the Islamic clergy. Rioting was brutally suppressed. But the Americans, myopic as ever, were taken in: ''What's going on in Iran,'' said an effusive Lyndon Johnson in 1964, ''is about the best thing going on anywhere in the world.''

It was monumental self-deception that continued right up to Jimmy Carter, who famously toasted Iran as ''an island of stability'' during a stopover in Tehran on New Year's Eve, 1978. The country by that time was going up in flames. The Shah, despite having built the world's fifth-largest standing army, clearly had lost the will to govern. Barely one year later, he and his family fled the country. Farmanfarmaian, hounded by trigger-happy thugs of the new Islamic regime, lingered on in Tehran for another year before a harrowing escape over the border into Turkey.

Could Iran have avoided its slide into Islamic fundamentalism? Farmanfarmaian suggests not. Decades before, the battle for control of Iran's oil had already sparked the xenophobic nationalism that ultimately would lead to the rise of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini. As early as the 1950s, Iranian cities had begun to fill up with displaced villagers who were ''overwhelmed by the onslaught of Westerners,'' writes Farmanfarmaian. ''They felt threatened by what they saw as the moral laxity of Western values.... The sole continuity for the peasants was the unbending rituals of their clerical mentors--and the overarching strength of Allah.'' Today, 18 years after Iran's Islamic revolution, the world is still grappling with the consequences.



Jaleho, The Only Soosks

by I love Iran But Hate the IRI (not verified) on

That I know are the people who without any shame protect the leaders of the IRI.

For Example:

"Yet, at the end of it all, Iran manged to develop its own defense industry with impressive missile technology, a nascent nuclear technology, expanded petrochemical industries"

What defense industry? You call copying old Korean and Chinese missile technology "impressive technology"?

Are you for real? Whoe in the world is lining up to purchase this technology? They have to give it for FREE to the Hezbollah.

The Shah was spending money buying F14's and F16's (state of the art expensive stuff)state of the art ships for Iran's navy and ground forves. Every respectable air force and army in the world uses these weapons. What are these Pasdars flying now? Pieces of Junk based on the US F5 (1950's technology- which means no fly by wire if you know what that means)because the US and Europeans will not sell them the good stuff.

The reason why poor Iranians had to fight Saddam for 8 years is because all the good generals/pilots and military people were either executed by the revolutionary courts or ran for their lives. Khomeini had to resort to Russian human waive tactics killing our 14 year old children to waist Iraqi bullets and prolong the war in order to march to Jerusalem.

You are not protecting Iranians and Iranian people. You are only protecting the Soosk Mullahs and their supporters who are much more of mooft khor and dozd than the Shah and his regime was.

The Iranian people are much more capable than copying stupid old North Korean missile technology or any type of "technology". However, due to lack of liberty (something you do not understand or care for)they can not build and support the industry and infrastructure which is required to do so. You are actually insulting us Iranians by giving us credit for being capable to copycat garbage from Asian communists. We are capable of much much more than this type of junk.

And than you boast about IRI's "Expanded Petrochemical industry"....What Kind of BS is this Jaleho? Iran with all its oil reserves is a gasoline importer and has to ration it. Who are you trying to fool? No one is buying this bulshevik style propaganda.

Khejalt Jaleho! Khejalat!!!


Iran manged to develop its

by SWP (not verified) on

Iran manged to develop its own defense industry with impressive missile technology, a nascent nuclear technology, expanded petrochemical industries, and everything that you saw imported as household appliances during Shah is now produced in Iran. Let alone the monumental increase in universities, hospitals, roads and bridges. Many things that you hear Shah "wanted" to do, including Tehran's expensive metro got done under the "cockroaches" who sold half as much oil as Shah did. 1/3 of their rule in Iran was spent fighting a war against the rest of the world and another 1/3 of it was spent dealing with threats of nuclear holcasut and sanction from the US, interanl threats and answering to people like MRX1 who don't bother to read any data or information by themselves.

Please provide citations and sources. IRI-fabricted data are not acceptable.

You're being so disingenious and misleading in your comparison. Have you bothered to look into what Iran looked like before the Pahlavis. Iran was dirt poor, no train station, no cars, dirt-filled streets, no plumbing, no sewere system, no university, and so on.

I'm sure that there are people who can tell you a lot more about the dismal state of affairs when Iran was under Soviet occupation and people were being starved to death sleeping in dirt roads. There was also World War II and the cold war. Iran has no technology whatsoever, zero. Streets were full of donkeys...

If someone unbiased and unrabid did a comparative analysis of pre Pahlavi, Pahalvi, and post Pahlavi, then we can see who did more for Iran and who plundered more, the Pahlavis or the mullahs.

I'm not sure if your feigning ignorance or you really are uninformed.

Defense industry??? You're really a fool if you think Iran has a defense inustry or a missile industry. They are all knock off of Soviet, Chinese, or North Korean junk. You read too much IRNA, ISNA.


Dear whatever,

by Jaleho on

you said: "What's with all this sexual imagery you use: "wet dream," "pimp," "lubrication"...? "

First, A dirty war-mongering dreamer like Friedman who always uses deragotory language towards anything that comes out of ME except Israel and lackeys like Bahrain, or an idiot who refers to Iran's leaders as "cockroaches" do not deserve any better. Hopefully, the data provided will fix him anyway alongside the reciprocated "shut up" meant for him, and would interest others interested in data too.

Second, general average reader in also pays more attention to this kinda language, and the asinine boldface, as even you yourself decided to find something "sexual" in my sentence "Iran's cheap and plenty oil was used to lubricate the western economy," lubricate has that technical meaning too, you know?

That is, I am sure if I were to cite just "raw data," and by "raw" I don't mean anything sexual, no one would pay attention or would forget it in 5 minutes. Wanna try? Here's MRX1's answerr in short:

During Shah's regime, Iran's population was about 30 million, yet for example in 1973 Iran produced an average of 5.86 million barrel of oil per day. The proceeds in large went directly back to US military industrial complex with Shah allocatinga $6052 millionn as Iran's military budget for 1973-74, larger than Italy, or Japan's budget. And things was getting worse by the year. For example,

In 1975 with similar production and using of Iran's oil, the military budget was increased by over $10,405. This amounted to 1/3 of entire Iran's Gross national product and exceeded the $9,974 budget of UK which had 5 times Iran's GNP.

Now compare that with what Iran did under Islamic "cockroaches". While the population was 70 million, Iran only used about 1/3 to 1/2 of the oil that Shah's used (the rest is under Iranian soil MrX1).

And what did Iran do with it? Like I said, 8 years it covered the most costly imposed war, the most costly reconstruction despite continuous sanction which meant Iran had to buy materials it needed much more expensively in black market, despite Saudis flooding the market with oil, for example in 1980 when Iran produced only 1.6 million barrels, Saudis poured about 10 million barrel oil in the market to help defeat Iran.

Yet, at the end of it all, Iran manged to develop its own defense industry with impressive missile technology, a nascent nuclear technology, expanded petrochemical industries, and everything that you saw imported as household appliances during Shah is now produced in Iran. Let alone the monumental increase in universities, hospitals, roads and bridges. Many things that you hear Shah "wanted" to do, including Tehran's expensive metro got done under the "cockroaches" who sold half as much oil as Shah did.  1/3 of their rule in Iran was spent fighting a war against the rest of the world and another 1/3 of it was spent dealing with threats of nuclear holcasut and sanction from the US, interanl threats and answering to people like MRX1 who don't bother to read any data or information by themselves.




To: MRX1

by دکتر ضرغام (not verified) on

Do not despair, you are serving the "king" now, a dead king. Keep on serving. Then when the next regime comes you will be serving Khomeini.



by Aghazadeh (not verified) on


Your unsubstantiated allegations, regurgitation of Khomeini-Carter manufactured propaganda against the Shah, resorting to 30-year old specious demagogary to defend your stance, your fanatical support of the mullahs, and your vulgarity tells me more about you than about the ideology you supposedly defend.


In this case Friedman is

by daryoush (not verified) on

In this case Friedman is like a person who has bought into a stock (sanction against Iran) which he has been holding for a while, all along hoping for a big jump (regime change in Iran), he is watching his stock price drop, yet he is still holding on to them hoping for a miracle. You know the kind, that tell you this is a long term investment, market turn around is just around the corner....!

Friedman writes as if the rest of the world economy is prospering and it is only Iran that is suffering. May be he is sitting on pile of cash. But his readers have lost a great deal of their savings, the question is whether they are willing to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan war longer, or if they are looking for an exist strategy. The way out of the Bush mess in the middle east is to radically change US policies, which means a reasonable US stance on Iran and Israel. Ironically, such a change in US policy would very likely change the dynamic of Iranian politics which could result in the kind of political changes US should be interested in.

As for rug salesman stereo type... it is interesting coming from a Jewish person. There are plenty of stereo types for Jews, would he care to be modeled as such?


JalehO, ba shoma hastam...

by whatever (not verified) on

What's with all this sexual imagery you use: "wet dream," "pimp," "lubrication"...? Obviously you're smart and can do homework. Why don't you make your points without so much smutty hostility? The way you attack people you hate -- from the Shah to the average Joe who leaves a comment here -- discredits your position and undermines your good qualities. Don't you see this?


relax Dr. wanna be

by MRX1 (not verified) on

you got me dr. wanna be, have no idea what cab drivers said in 1960's. i was born in mid 1960's. also didn't have the opportunity to serve the king which would have been an honor. I suspect honor is also unfamiliar concept for you islamic zealots.
it's fine though. truth has a way of comming out. I am interested to know what happend to all the money that IRI received from oil sale during the last thirty years. the amount has been larger than U.S marshal plan which rebuilt Europe after world war two!!! let me guess the zionists stole it!


To: MRX1

by ِدکتر اسمائیل ضرغام (not verified) on

Hey MRX1 from reading your comments here and there, here is what I have for you: At the end of the day when the dust settles, you are just a servant of a dead king. Any SAVAKI at the time of the Shah was a loyal as you are. Stop making comments that are only good for cab drivers back in 1960's. OK?


Jaleo, sweetie!!

by gholam ali (not verified) on

Repeat after me:
Breath in , breath out, in , out, ...
do it until feeling calmer , Honey see you soon.


Deja vu!

by Ajam (not verified) on

Once again, an oversimplstic "analysis" of a complex isuue by an American pundit and former apostle of Ahmad Chalabi's!
Does the "carpet bazzar" analogy ever going to get old? Apparently not for Mr. Friedman!
Now that he's figured it all out he should let B. Hossein O. on it too! However, he should keep his fingers crossed that mullahs don't read this article, or else, they're gonna find out about the carpet strategy!!!


MrX1, Shah was a US NOOKAR (Lackey)

by Jaleho on

You say:

"shah of Iran subsequently did so much with price of oil hovering around not even $10.00 dollars. Now you got these cockroaches who have been selling oil between 40 to 140 dollars per barrel."

Actually, this is the meaning of your sentence: That US pimp, Shah, used so much of Iran's valuable commodity, sold the wealth of Iranian people as cheap oil to the west and bought their military junk with the proceeds. He did exactly as he was ordered to do so by the US, lubricate the western economy with Iran's cheap and plenty oil, and fill their military industrial complex pocket by the money he should have used to improve Iran's own industry.

IRI on the contrary, sold the oil for what it is worth for a short time, and created a decent native defense industry for Iran. This impressive result was achieved despite 8 years of an extremely costly war, reconstruction, sanctions, and the other US lackey, Saudis, flooding the markert with oil to break Iran's economy for a good period of years.

Besides, Shah took out  5-6 million barrelas of Iran's oil at a time when the population was under 30 million, to satisfy his western bosses. IRI has done all of that when the population is about 70 million, and it produced only 2 million barrel of Iran's oil for one decade, 3 million for another decade, and only since 2004 it has barely increased the production to 4 million. 


MrX1 you seem to be happy to give away Iran's wealth for cheap to foreigners, ha?


Sleepless in Shahr-e No, maybe but...

by Shadooneh (not verified) on

but not because of the oil prices! Sheik Zaki Yamani, an SA oil and OPEC minister for more than 20 years, once said something to the effect that parts of the US are members of OPEC. He was referring to the oil industry and the oil producing parts of the US. Also the BBC revealed that "According to industry group UK Oil and Gas, the sector paid £7.8bn in taxes in the 2007-2008 financial year and this is forecast to jump to between £12.5bn and £16.5bn next year depending on the direction of oil prices." Note, depending on the direction of oil prices. Therefore the Iranian government has nothing to worry about because its allies in the US, UK, Russia and the Wall Street speculator crowd, who have secured their position in the incoming Obama administration by making sure Obama lends an ear to their men, either Clinton Treasury Secretaries Rubin or Summers, will do their best so that the oil prices rise again. Those who were behind the spike in oil prices have amassed enough profits to hold them over until the damn US election is over and then rouz az no and rouzi az no, again. Tom Friedman is right in assuming that bad things happen when oil prices fall, but he apparently doesn't know the resilience of the Iranian regime and the peculiarities of the Iranian economy which does not respond to such fluctuations as the "economists" like to predict. This regime has very strong shock observers, in other words fanaraash mohkaman, and can withstand this temporary hiatus in the rise of energy prices until the shit that has hit the fan blows over and the oil boys can go back to business as usual. Let's not forget the Saudis are paying a bigger price than Iran because their revenues are falling due to the falling oil prices, and the fact that their markets and monetary reserves have taken bit hits due to the falling dollar and the collapse of the stock market. I don't think the akhonds will loose any sleep over the temporary fall of oil prices in Tehran. That might be true in Shahr-e No but for that's complete different reasons dear.


Interesting take

by Abarmard on

Thank you for this interesting piece. A few points to note:

1-It is not Iran, or any country in the region that is "asking" for anything, it is the US that promoting Bush's doctrine. Therefore unlike the Bazaar analogy, Iran would benefit from the absence of powerful US (military) in all of her borders.

2-US has already left the shop by sanctions and lack of responsiveness to the Iranian government willingness to negotiate. It has worked against the US interest. On the contrary, the United States should not fallow what the article suggests and actually do the opposite. Show interest and open the market to the Iranian people. This is politics after all not Bazaar!

3-The reason of young Arabs not wanting to live in Iran is what you have already mentioned: lack of economical well being. The conclusion that you have drawn after "They admire Hamas, Hezbullah, and Iran" (specifically Ahmadinejad) is not related to the standards of living that they prefer. One is independence, fight against injustice (to them) and the other are economic opportunities. The so called free market economy is not so free after all, since they pick and choose what country and how much they need to trade with. Free market economy follows the concept of "let market decide", which is nothing but a slogan and politicians use market to hurt or benefit a nation. That's not a free market concept, otherwise, let market decide and see what happens to Iran!

Those young Arabs believe that if their own country becomes independent, then there is regional unity, which would make life for the majority better.

4-Iranian economy will suffer with this kind of subsidies while the oil prices drop. Unfortunately, the government has been wrong and incompetent to deal with the issue properly. I do not however believe that this kind of the movement in the market will hurt Iran dramatically. the ultimate result would be more cheating in oil production for higher quantity to compensating for price.

5-The Iranian society still follows a traditional economy, with Bazaar at its center. The problem therefore is conceptually beyond the scope of a system alone. The system is capitalist in nature but has no solution or innovation to fix the inflation and circulation of capital.

Finally-With less of economic prosperity for the Iranians, the less social movements and political will to reform/fix or overthrow the Iranian system. The United States must therefore invest on the people of Iran by opening all the communicational and economical channels. It's the better way.

Obama will do much better than Bush and if Iranians inside Iran vote for a milder president in their next election, we can hope for a better scenario that ultimately helps the Iranians inside.


Hoping the price of oil goes down

by MRX1 (not verified) on

Let's just hope the price of oil takes a deep, deep dive so mullah's ,bazzari's , aghazadeh's profits gets less and less and less in the process....

It is ironic that so much was done by the Great Reza shah when the price of oil was literally peanuts. shah of Iran subsequently did so much with price of oil hovering around not even $10.00 dollars. Now you got these cockroaches who have been selling oil between 40 to 140 dollars per barrel. The amount of money collected by this regime is more than what was spent by marshal plan to rebuilt Europe after world war two!!! Yet
they got the nerve to complain! One day historians will write amazing tales about IRI robbing people blind...



by ..... (not verified) on

The Islamofascists/Toudehis/anti-semites are outraged...that only means Mr. Friedman is right on the money. Good job.


Friedman is right

by Milton_that_is (not verified) on

Not sure what Thomas had posted before, however he is generally right on oil price falling having a devastating effect on the Islamic Republic. Likely, however $65 is not low enough to cause an existential problem for the IR. It needs to get to $50 or lower and hold there for a while.

For that, Thomas needs to get on his knees and kiss the feet of the Saudis yet again. It is once again totally in the hands of the Saudis as they have since June brought on two new oil fields and through next year will be adding another 1.8 million barrel of spare capacity.


Who says Im a leftist?Im a

by davood_Sardari on

Who says Im a leftist?Im a Ron Paul republican. As for Islamofascism, don't you know that that word is just another way for white people to call us (including you) "sand-niggers" without the fear of being called a racist?

your last sentence doesnt make any sense.



by ali1348 (not verified) on

although I have not agreed with freidman's views in the past, I think he has a point here.
oil prices, and profits, are key in iranian politics- always have and always will- the shah's downfall was mainly to the oil worker's strike and its disasterous effects on the economy.
without oil profits, the akhoonds are history- if the oil workers go on strike for 2 weeks- it's hasta la vista mullah!
I pray to god that this is the akhoonds' last breath- it's time for our nation to be free!