Iran - The Node


Jalil Bahar
by Jalil Bahar

Iran Can Provide “Crucial Connectivity” between 50%+ of the world’s Economy (GDP i.e. Economic Blocks EU/India/China/Arabia/ Russia)…soon to be 67%. Consider the following:

* EU: GDP – $20 Trillion (Eastern Europe rising fast)

* China: GDP - $3.5 Trillion (rising fast)

* Russia: GDP - $2 Trillion (rising fast)

* India: GDP - $1 Trillion (rising fast)

* Arabian Sphere: GDP - $1 Trillion (rising fast)

Many of these economies are growing at unbelievably fast rates, and will demand substantial resources from the rest of the world. Iran can become the means of delivering these resources. This will in effect make Iran “the connection” between its neighbors who will soon comprise of 2/3rds of the world’s economy.

Iran also sits squarely within distribution range of 50%+ of the world’s Population (i.e. EU/ India/China/Arabia/Russia):

* China: 1.3 Billion

* India: 1.1 Billion

* EU: 500 Million

* Pakistan: 170 Million

* Russia: 150 Million

* Arabia: 70 Million +

And each region needs products and services from others:

* China and India need Food and Energy (from Central Asia)

* China needs to export (transport) products (from China)

* Europe needs Energy from Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea

* Central Asia’s Landlocked region (including Western China) need access to sea and trade routes …,ability to pool and raise capital … distribution centers with critical mass for sales offices, warehousing, transportation …

Yes, Iran is the hottest real estate in the world my friends.

Through Turkey, Iran will have access to the European Union. Through its northern neighbors it will have access to the former Soviet Block. Through Pakistan and India it will have access to the Indian Subcontinent. And through Afghanistan it will have access to China. And through Iraq and its Persian Gulf neighbors, it can have access into the Arabian Market. And thus Iran will provide connectivity to the European Union and Arabia, or India to Russia, or Arabia to China!!

Iran can thus be a major economic Node – for delivery of everything from natural gas, to telecommunication, to energy, to supply of high value ‘core components’ for assembly at the point of use (such as for example: engines for cars produced in Iran, for delivery to auto assembly plants in Turkey, India, Iraq, etc.), to transportation, to capital. Iran can thus become the Epicenter for these Distribution Grids:

* Natural Gas Grid

* Super Grid – multiple buyers and sellers

* Electrical Grid

* Super Grid – multiple buyers and sellers

* Transportation / Logistics / Multimodal

* Air / Land / Sea / Rail

* Telecommunication

* Fiber Optic Connection

* Financial Services

* Exchanges

* Transaction Infrastructure

* Legal / Security / Language

Central Asia's vast, untapped hydrocarbon reserves will play a very significant role in the world's energy supply for decades to come. Demand for oil will begin to outstrip supply within a few years.

Iran sits squarely in the middle of that region. Even if a large pipeline is placed through Afghanistan - pumping (at most) one million barrels a day (out of the 6 Million barrels a day that Central Asia can produce); or if the Caspian Sea is exploited from its Northern shores; or Iraqi oil comes-on full force - without Iranian cooperation there will be serious inefficiencies and shortcomings in bringing oil to market. The scenario's even bleaker without Iran on Natural Gas - where elaborate regional trades might be needed into a combined pipeline system.

Basically, every play in the region supports Iran's position as a node.

There are substantial untapped hydrocarbon reserves in Central Asia. Iran, has enjoyed or suffered (depending on your point of view) almost a century of substantial involvement with Oil and Natural gas. Central Asian reserves have to be exported to have any value. And these reserves can only be exported through Afghanistan /Pakistan and/or Iran or both. This economic necessity will by itself bring these nations together to design, build and maintain pipelines and transfer hydrocarbons. Interestingly, it would be better for everyone if Iran purchased and used exclusively central Asian oil and natural gas in its heavily populated Northern cities and then exported its own product (since its product is produced near exportable ports) - as part of a transfer plan with these Central Asian nations.

But also, importantly these nations surround the Caspian Sea; and also plan to exploit reserves sitting below the Caspian. This brings about not just a common geographic and economic interest but also very importantly also an environmental interest. These nations must sit together not as economic competitors but as partners in dealing with the very difficult issues of exploiting Caspian Sea reserves. The Caspian Sea must be protected while there is drilling going on. It is a unique environment - with highly salty water balance and important species that can only be found there. The Caspian Sea actually is on the verge of destruction with many species on the verge of extinction.

We therefore see that there is a large group of interests that bring these nations together.

In a world, where nations are increasingly binding together to form supra-national entities such as for example the European Union or African Union, there is an opportunity for a more 'natural' linkage to form among the nations of the central Asian region - based on common interests and the very natural linkages between the people of these nations.

In order to implement this vision, significant structural changes will be required within Iran as we now know it. Iran’s current strong Islamic and/or Shia Identity detracts intimacy with some neighbors (who are influenced by other powers)! Iran’s current religious identity may actually hinder the promotion of this type of Union rather than accelerate it. In addition, as we see in with the European case, a democratic base is critical for the successful integration of such an economic union.

Distribution requires transparency and stability. Iran must have a stable, tolerant, and open business environment for ‘everyone’ to participate in …it must become a pluralistic! It is also vital that Iran be seen as a Neutral participant in the delivery process. It can not be seen as part of any international political block (Western block, or Russian Block, ….). It must maintain a positive, low key international presence i.e.

* No funding of Hamas, Hezbollah, Chechens, …

* No feuds with US or Europe or …

Iran has a unique position. No other nation is positioned to make these investments and provide these services, No other nation has the geographic base, intellectual base and critical mass to support a grid. This is Iran’s destiny…to connect the world to each other.


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