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Over a barrel of oil
Oil is not expensive. Water is expensive.


September 30, 2005

Day after day we hear about the diminishing resources of crude oil, the increasing prices at the pumps and the net effect on the economy. When oil prices go up the crystallizing argument and the cause of it always boils down on the greed exhibited by the nations of the world that own the oil but mainly the ones in the so-called “Axis of Evil” namely Iran and Iraq and borderline the not-so-evil Saudi Arabia.

It may not be too far from the fact that the OPEC has been offering the greatest subsidy that man has ever seen in its history and the price that the world pays for the crude oil is far below what it really is worth and its true and intrinsic value should be much higher considering that oil is a diminishing commodity as well as the current data that the alternatives are far more expensive and abstract. Top that with the fact that there are hundreds of by-products that are being produced from a barrel of crude oil that cannot be produced from an alternative energy source.

As we speak, a barrel of crude is hovering around $67 in the open market. We are also hearing that how any increase in the price of crude oil will affect the economy and the average person’s pocketbook. Nonetheless at $67 this price is “dirt-cheap.” The only reason that oil is being offered at such cheap price is because of the corrupt regimes installed in the nations of the west Asia that one of many conditions to keep their crowns or daggers intact would be to give away the oil at a price lower than what water sells in other countries.

In one of his historical speeches in 1979 Khomeini ridiculed former Prime Minister of Iran, Dr. Mossadegh by saying “what do you people mean by saying ‘Mossadegh nationalized the oil’? The oil was belong to the nation to begin with,” This statement really meant far more than what I thought it meant. At that time I thought it only meant as a tool to suppress the feeling of nationalism in Iran which was the top Anglo-American doctrine when they staged the Iranian Revolution, however, today I am hearing what Khomeini really meant –that no matter what format you present it the oil belongs to the ones that control the oil wells and “not” the nations that sit on those wells, considering his alliance with the British and his Anglophil family, the old man said it in so many words based on what he knew first hand.

For so long we thought that the nationalization of oil in Iran was an advantage for the nation (as one would expect it to be) but one should evaluate if oil like other commodities such as pistachios and dried figs was belong to the private sector (such as Rafsanjani’s Mafioso gang) would we have a better pricing power? To prevent ethnic unrest, in the last century the British had to make a decision as in which countries oil industry should be nationalized -such as in Iran, and yet in other cases they invented countries that automatically opened the door for intervention, such as Kuwait, Iraq and Bahrain, etc. To break apart Iran into self-ruling oil regions and call each of them sovereign nations was far more difficult than just giving them the so-called “nationalized” oil industry. Yet in either way, while the British and the west got the oil, the nations that own it have got the shaft!

So, now one would wonder if Dr. Mossadegh’s dreams were fulfilled, or if it was even his idea to begin with? When he nationalized the oil he futilely kicked the British out for a few months only to see them come back and uproot his government. Iran is a net importer of refined oil and today’s Anglo-American alliance wants it to also become a net importer of enriched uranium instead of a producer and exporter! We are going through the same show as we went through in 1950’s; corrupt government, British-supported mullahs, ignorant mass and a weak leader. In comparison Shah in his youth was as weak and helpless as Ahmadinejad is today. So, we are going through a repeat of history and this time uranium is the main commodity of intervention.

To make the issue perhaps a bit more clear, let’s imagine if the nations of west Asia did not own any oil and had to rely on selling and exporting other national products. Selling dates and camel meat, in the case of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait and Iraq, and weaving rugs and selling pistachios in case of Iran and exporting belly dancers in case of Libya. Are you with me so far or did you change the channel? OK good, now start visualizing various groups of nations of the world that would have owned the oil wells and make your interpretation of what if they wanted to sell this precious commodity and how much would they sell it for per barrel?

For example imagine if Israel owned the oil and the Arabs wanted to buy it for their survival! Or if Japanese owned it and the African nations had to rely on Japan for oil. If the British or French owned it what havocs would they bring over the poor nations of the world and how much blood would they ask for and how many virgins in exchange for a barrel of oil? These are important questions that we have to ask ourselves before we blame the greed of the OPEC and or to complain that oil is too expensive. Oil is not expensive. Water is expensive.

To give you several examples on how cheap oil is in today’s market and to compare with some other liquids let’s take a look at the figures in the table below and remember that one barrel holds 5,376 ounces:


Retail Price

Fluid Ounce

Price / Fluid Oz.

Price if sold per Barrel

Crude Oil –Axis of Evil Exports





Any tap water in a plastic bottle





Milk – 2% fat





Can of Coke





Pellegrino – Italian mineral water





Gasoline price





Fiji – An American brand of bottled water





Can of Beer





Evian – French bottled mineral water





Abe-Ali brand buttermilk!





A cup of tea





Starbuck’s Café latte





A bottle Chinese soy sauce





Average bottle of wine





A bottle of German Rhine wine





Robitussin infant cough suppressant





A cup of Japanese Saki rice-wine





As the table shows thanks to their marketing techniques variety of countries export their products at exuberant prices if converted to a “per barrel” valuation for the sake of comparisons. But when it comes to the OPEC, well, corruption, installed governments and lack of a voice has been forcing the member nations to sell one of the most essentials products of the world at a price that ounce by ounce is lower and cheaper than even tap water and yet if they want to import a barrel of Robitussin infant cough suppressant to distribute among their sick children, they will have to pay (and they do) $21,160 per equivalent barrel to the western drug makers, let alone a barrel of Japanese Saki wine which tops the list of non-essential commodities at the top price of $21,235 per barrel, Arrigato Gozaimas!

So, it is not the oil that is shattering the household spending budget as we hear on the news; what the world is ignoring is that oil is being bought and sold at ridiculously low prices and as the result it is being wasted as if there is no tomorrow. Oil should be no less than $1,000 per barrel if we at least give it a valuation as much as the common soft drinks used in most of the OPEC nations, which happens to be buttermilk! Oil is cheaper than buttermilk! Yet cows are not diminishing, nor are water and salt, so why in the world is crude oil cheaper than buttermilk? Coca Cola at $244 per barrel? Even if you add all the production costs, labor, marketing and shipping you will still find that oil has much higher production costs than a barrel of Coca Cola or Saki rice-wine, but that happens when in countries like Iran oil industry is “nationalized” which in reality means the entire nation’s wealth is “rectomized” if not the entire OPEC! And that is why they call it shipping and “handling” it is that handling portion that always gets you my friend.

So, this is why despots like Khamenie rule Iran, corrupt royals rule Saudi Arabia, a pervert rules Libya and bunch of fat-ass-belching-womanizers rule the rest of the oil producing nations of the west Asia and Isreal acts as the western equalizer in the region -the prima donna state. And that is why Iran’s regime with the help of the British find a man with small stature, dubious past and feeble-looking as the appointed President of Iran, so that god forbid if he decides to turn against the British, at least they have his testicles in their hands, and he does not have a look of man who can become a nation’s hero!!

The British certainly do not wish to create another Reza Khan in Iran who can become a disobedient servant at some point and a man that the nation can look up to him as a hero. When Reza Khan was chosen it was because they wanted to maintain a unity in Iran through a tough dictator to facilitate the building of the railroad from south to north to carry Allied Forces’ armament to Russia to fight Germans and to subsequently plunder the oil. But now Iran does not need unity and the more chaotic the better it serves the interest of the world as we have seen in the past 30 years.

At this juncture when all nations of the world are realizing the importance of alternative energy and while most of these nations will face energy winter in few decades if not sooner; Iran is sitting on huge reserves of uranium that will almost guarantee its prosperity in the next phase of energy production on this planet. So the question is how to prevent Iran from once again on becoming an energy powerhouse? Well, for the west the strategy would be to support British domination and interference in Iran and supporting the submissive regimes of despots and create a mass paranoia about Iran and the drama of a nuclear bomb and on top of that install a man as the President in Iran that everyone loves to hate!

To further divert the focus and finger-pointing, then once a year the British Embassy puts out these little shows outside their embassy in Tehran (as we saw last week) and pays cash to bunch of their cronies in south Tehran to come to the gates of the embassy and conduct these ridiculous demonstrations to pretend that indeed the British have some enemies in Iran and their welfare is endangered, bull! Someone should tell Nick Browne (the first British Ambassador in Iran since 1979) to stop the show and just do what you are good at, which is interference in Iranian affairs, assassination of our heroes and passing vital information to the Islamic Regime and Israel to get rid of the nationalists and facilitate your survival in Iran. 

The fact that the British sent an Ambassador to Iran shows how established they are in Iran and their stronghold and they needed a higher-ranking official who is a specialist on Iran to evaluate the issue of enriching uranium, Browne is a man with a clear mission, as another Englishman General Ironside was decades ago.

As my ex-girlfriend used to say “let’s put it this way”, if Iran had a truly elected president who was 6 feet tall, handsome and loved by the majority of Iranians (precisely how presidents are elected in USA) and whom could stand on his feet in the United Nations’ General Assembly and be fluent in three languages defending the Iranian sovereignty, then no Iranian would be against Iran’s access to the nuclear energy. No Iranian would object for Iran to protect its sovereign rights to build centers to enrich uranium for producing energy.

But with the current gangs in charge of Iran the paranoia that is being fed all around the globe that Iran is building an atomic bomb, then the best was to have a man appointed in Iran that looks so weak as if he needs a kidney transplant just about any day and with a questionable past. The regime in Iran is losing its grip and the British and their allies are planning the next move supported by the US government whom represents the “muscle” in suppressing voices of defiance around the globe.

The US government’s blind following of the British doctrine in west Asia is the biggest revenge of the British since the Independence of 1776 when they were kicked out of America. American is paying a heavy price for kicking the British out of their colony more than two centuries ago. US will eventually control the oil, but the price will be very high.

Considering on how a very few give a damn about politics these days, next week we will talk about how to make eggplant stew with saffron, split peas and lamb shanks and fresh tomatoes. Until then sleep tight.

Farrokh A. Ashtiani is the founder of

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