This is a comment I posted on a Guardian article reporting on King Salman’s decision not to attend the GCC meeting with Obama at Camp David. It sum’s up what I think are the real motivators behind the Persian Gulf countries, and Israel’s, fear of the Iran nuclear deal:
How exactly does a deal to LIMIT Iran’s (peaceful) nuclear programme harm the GCC? Iran isn’t the one bombing it’s neighbour and covertly waging a war against Iraq and Syria. The only aid Iran has given the Houthis is financial, as well as negotiating food imports into the country, and a new airline linking Sanaa to Tehran. The Houthis, like everyone else, are fighting with American-made weapons. By the way, I just read that Yemen is on its way to becoming the worst man-made crisis of the 21st century, due to the blockade making it impossible to get fuel and food (90% of Yemen’s food is imported).
I think the real problem for these despots is what will happen to their economies once sanctions are lifted. 90% of KSA’s income is through oil sales, and it’s population are unskilled and uneducated. Iran’s population is the opposite, and they actually manufacture things, such as cars. Though it’s not reported in the Western press, delegations from all over Europe have been visiting Tehran to sign trade deals in recent months. In fact, there was even a US delegation there yesterday.
Without the sanctions, Iran has the ability to become an economic powerhouse. In fact it is also about to start building hundreds of new hotels to keep up with its blossoming tourist industry. All this strikes fear into the heart of Salman, Netanyahu, Tom Cotton, and the rest.
One further point is, how will lessening restrictions in Iran’s energy sector affect the price of oil? The market is currently flooded with Saudi oil, what happens when it’s also flooded with Iranian oil?
It can’t be emphasised enough how much potential there is for Iran. If you read Fars News or Press TV there are almost daily articles reporting on economic delegations from Poland, visits to Tehran by French car manufacturers, meetings between Iranian ministers and Swiss ministers, and so on. The power they exert is very much in the Chinese tradition, ie. investing in infrastructure rather than selling weapons and dropping bombs, as the American’s and the Saudi’s do.
I probably wouldn’t have started this blog if it wasn’t for the sudden interest I found in Iran last year. Having researched women’s rights in the Middle East, I couldn’t believe that the country so demonised for its human rights abuses was Iran, whose women seem so fiercely independent, and not Saudi Arabia, which goes to extraordinary lengths to keep their women segregated from men, and whose women must cloak themselves in black tents, while the Persians put Western women’s dress sense to shame. I actually started trying to copy some of the looks I found, which can be seen in my post: Iranian Street Style.
While human rights in KSA are regressing – they have just fired their first female minister – human rights in Iran are making slow but welcome progress – they have just appointed their first female ambassador to represent them abroad. Iran is the future, while the Americans and their Gulf cronies are on a sinking ship.