Let us above all, on this site of all sites, make the promise to each other, to be absolutely honest. Basheh?
Now that the thrill is gone, and Jason has finally had is long awaited Burrito, let us look at the mess made by the worst foreign policy debacle since…
And let us not forget that the IAEA is not so much the watchdog of the Nuclear Industry, as much as it is their biggest cheerleader. Finding any fault with Iran is not shall we say in the best interests of an industry competing with fast growing solar and wind power nowadays.
4 of the 5 recently “released” American prisoners in Iran, are not by any stretch of the imagination, Americans. I know, I know, technically they have US citizenship. But we all know better, so let’s just stop the nonsense right now. The most famous one was in fact born in the USA in 1976, but claimed Iran “feels like home” 2 years ago, on a top rated CNN foodie/travel show. So only 1 of the 5 prisoners would fit the MO of an actual white-bread stereotypical American prisoner held by Iran. The rest are Iranians held by Iran. The lone American’s case is so tragically boring, none of the media have even cared to know why he was arrested, or even in Iran in the first place. I think he even flew back coach, and may have been put up at a motel outside of Rammstein, and probably told to just put all the Pizza and Pay-Per-View he wanted on the room tab, as his “recuperation”.
I will now prove the sheer total lack of media interest in him, by not even bothering to inform you of his name. I will say however that his arrest likely had less to do with his activities in Iran, and more to do with his mom working for a company with the words “Christian” and “Science” and “Monitor” in it. 3 words the average Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corpsman would translate very inaccurately.
Under CNN’s banner of “Breaking News”, the Iranians with what I will call post revolution happenstance American citizenship, happened to be in various stages of “going back home”, when their visits or company assignments or other so called reasons, were cut short by Iran’s institutionalized paranoia against them. As much as everyone post-deal begs to differ now, the fact still is, that Iran certainly doesn’t trust ANY Iranians coming into Iran, especially ones who live outside Iran. Even if they love Iran.
Ex-pat Iranian lovers tend to always have those weird sounding Americanized Farsi accents, and “ideas”. “Ballay, man keyli mochakeram…”
1 of the 4 of the 5, ironically didn’t even want to come “Home”! And chose to stay in Iran. I will now call him Mr. Crazy Stupid A**.
It gets worse, 6 of the 7 Iranians on the other side of this “Prisoner Swap”, in US prison, were also US citizens! And upon being pardoned and released by the US, they didn’t go back to Iran either! The went right back to their homes and families in DC and HOUSTON! Ironically these “Import/Export Enthusiasts” will likely be resuming their hobby, now that what they were in prison for weeks ago, is no longer illegal this week.
See how Diplomacy works!
Only 1 Iranian, the arguably only Iranian incompetent hacker in history, in this “Historic Step Forward”, was actually swapped, or sent back to Iran in return for 1 born in the US, 2 naturalized Iranian-Americans and the 1 actual American-American. Our fearless hacker had no choice but to go back, because unlike the other 10, he was the 1 who did not have the brains or post revolution happenstance to have US Citizenship. I feel bad for him the most. He was probably hoping for at least a Work Visa out of this, which sadly usually comes through for Iranians. Especially Iranian hackers with actual “on the job Iranian hacking experience”.
So yes, let us be honest.
In return for this “Diplomatic Victory” now, Iran has gotten anywhere from $1.5-$30 Billion out of a total of something near $180 Billion, of what is undeniably owed them by the US. Or this is Iran’s own money. Call it merely the reimbursement of illegal US confiscation. Or shall we be honest here too, and say, the original Shah’s money. Now the current Shah’s money.
At risk of dating myself, may I invoke the words of the famous English poet Pete Townshend, who once said, “Meet the New Shah. Same as the Old Shah.” However in this case, apparently, “We Most Certainly Will be Fooled Again (…and again… and again…)”
Even though $100-$200 Billion sounds like a lot (actually now that I hear myself say it, in George W. Bush foundation Iraq-restoration-money it doesn’t sound like all that much), Iran’s annual budget is around $400 Billion. So at best this funds Iran’s government operation or lack thereof, for like another 3-6 months tops. That it is coming in $1 Billion drips and $18 Billion drabs, makes it essentially useless as any sort of significant stimulant to Iran’s far more deeply diseased economy. Maybe the US negotiators know more about Iran’s propensity to consume more than we thought!
Which is why the Supreme Leader and even Rouhani, the magical mollahs everyone believes to be the elected leaders of the Iranian (per)version of democracy, have pledged the money to bolster the ongoing Syrian disaster. The one that almost everyone in Iran who can convincingly pull off appearing to quietly think to themselves without drawing any untoward Baseej attention, are starting to realize would be better termed “quagmire”.
Finally, because all of this “Diplomacy” was such a “Success”, and Iran posted on the IAEA Instagram, some sort of unidentifiable swimming pool filled with cement as proof it shut down something nuclear, the US immediately lifted (almost) all Sanctions off Iran. Sanctions that it claimed had “…effectively crippled the Iranian economy”.
Although the rumored record Porsche sales in Iran in 2012 being the highest of ANY country in the Middle East, begged to differ. I guess even under a “crippling” US Sanctions, nothing but nothing will get in the way of a made Iranian Bazari and his luxury sports car(s).
To continue being honest, US Sanctions had only made thug-life barely harder for the Bazar Merchant Class (BMC) who have long traditions of bypassing anything in their way. The US Sanctions, was nothing more than a list of 1200 individuals and their companies who were named, that the US prohibited from banking outside of Iran. People who have used their centuries-old tried and true mob-family rules of monopoly, hoarding, and blackmarket smuggling to dominate Iran’s naturally glossy black markets. During this period of US Sanctions, the BMC have amassed huge fortunes. In the billions. In Cash. Which they have methodically extracted from the smart shopping and smarter budgeting Iranian people, through higher commodity prices caused by artificially induced supply shortages.
Iran’s fruit is certainly tasty, but not that tasty.
Some of the literally “siphoned off” billions of dollars from Iran’s oil revenues, have been blatantly sent to personal foreign bank accounts with little to no internal outrage or slightest real consequences. Apparently in Islam, outrage especially over corrupt Moslems, is also forbidden. All of this has created an Iranian economy of generally stable desperation, fueled by BMC INDUCED high prices, that used to be conveniently explained to the Iranian consumer, as having been caused by the cruelty of a traditional Iranian people hating US government policy, via inhumane and unfair US Sanctions.
But this was always a lie. This is also why EVERY SINGLE IRANIAN I have ever spoken to who has travelled to Iran for fun and pastry, in the past 5 years, has stated the following truest statement;
“Iran has everything you can imagine, and in Iran you can get ANYTHING YOU WANT, if you have the money.”
You can most certainly, and ironically, even play baseball in Iran. That’s how tough things are in Iran. Iranians can play baseball.
Assuming all rich people are by necessity assh***s personally, is the easy way to prove that the US Sanctions did not in fact “cripple Iran’s economy”. Rich BMC connected Iranians and their families and friends have now greatly benefitted from the artificial shortages that were created for them to profit from. The BMC did that. Like they have always done in Iran. Hard to buy, but easy to find, and easier to smuggle-in foreign goods is nothing new to the Iranian consumer. Haggling in Iran used to be quaintly amusing. Something you would use to entertain the visiting foreigners you were hosting. Now it’s a life or death survival mechanism.
And yes, it is true. These Bazar induced shortages often included “Medicine”.
Medicine ordinary innocent, but statistically only occasionally sick Iranians, only occasionally needed. But would never be able to afford to pay BMC high prices demanded for it. The BMC response? Pure capitalist supply and demand. If the market is too small for something, why even bother to import it? Which is the real reason why Medicine that only a few Iranians needed, may have been hard to get in Iran under the sanctions. But at the exact same time medicine was being taken off the BMC list of things to smuggle menu, the latest iPhone, Hollywood movies, Johnny Walker Red, Black, Double Black, Green, Gold, Platinum, and Blue was always available. I’m not sure about Johnny Walker Swing, because that is obviously just another indistinctive marketing gimmicky product. But, what can you say? People like crazy sh**.
And although you couldn’t get Medicine during the sanctions, you could most certainly get you some of the top recreational drugs available globally. And all the institutionalized porn you could auto-asphyxiate to.
Of course, since this is a traditionally black market, and a monopoly hoarding shortage driven economy, all of this and more, was always available. Is always available. In the back of the store. I think that’s where you can order yourself a new Porsche as well as a Corvette. Tesla S is on its way, and the X is coming, but not yet. Check back next week.
Other than make life and currency somewhat harder for the privileged BMC folks used to smuggling to get, BMC merely shifted from SWIFT to the always eager eastern European money brokers to get goods they can mark up even higher to cover the extra premium. For the BMC unlucky enough to be named on the list of folks the US sanctions prohibited from doing business outside Iran, US sanctions did nothing to directly make life inside Iran any harder than it already was for the ordinary Iranians struggling to make ends meet. What has essentially been a totally predictable horribly run economy.
Under sanctions, especially NOTHING made in Iran, mildly exportable to the US, was EVER prohibited from being shipped to and sold in the US. Unless it happened to go through a BMC named on the US list. Then it was most certainly prohibited. Obviously.
Only the very few “specific nuclear parts” used for a very few “specific nuclear uses” was ever banned from going from the US, to Iran. Everything else? Totally allowed. As long as the transaction did not pass through a named BMC on the sanctions list of named BMC. Problem is, EVERYTHING being imported into or exported out of Iran eventually has to pass through the slimy hands of the BMC.
The extent that the propaganda surrounding the US sanctions has hidden this fact of Iran’s BMC dominated economy, and redefined it as a total goods embargo, is exemplified by the fact that apparently no one on the US side knows that Zarif, Iran’s lead on the Iran deal, is the son of one of the most famous BMC heads in Iranian BMC history. Zarif’s father in fact funded Khomeini’s Original Start Up when he returned to claim Iran after the Shah left it unclaimed. Making Zarif a son of a BMCVC.
The delusion continues to this day. A recent report by NPR interviewed an Iranian rug seller in Iran, who said he now hoped to ship his carpets to the US soon. Meanwhile, he has never been prohibited from shipping his rugs to the US! OK fine, since Bill Clinton allowed it 20 years ago! And Pistachios. And Saffron. But not Caviar. Caviar is still sort of Haram or disgusting in Iran. But only until the inevitably maverick BMC one day realizes how much he can get for it.
Hopefully you can see how US sanctions have been blamed for every self induced disaster in the Iranian economy.
But none of that matters now! Thanks to Allah, the sanctions have been lifted! And Allah willing, the US has now learned not to “Mess with Te”-hran, and soon all will be right with…
…except it won’t actually.
Now with the US sanctions lifted, the BMC baddies can seemingly freely import anything the little Iranian consumer heart desires, without ANY restrictions. Or increased supply ought to make prices go down. And the Iranian people expect prices to go damn well down! Like Right Meow! Including Medicine! Even though only a few Iranians need that.
But with no more US Sanctions to blame to gouge the Iranian consumer with, the BMC has to somehow keep prices high, and worse, it has to shut off any attempts by new private non-BMC businesses in Iran, trying to get in on all this newfound optimism, and increase supply, all of which would naturally increase competition too, leading to even lower prices and the gougey profits the BMC need. Luckily for the BMC though, cutting out any non-BMC interloper private importers, and keeping out any competition is easy.
Being the principle financial backers of the increasingly corrupt Islamic Republic, the BMC conveniently has all the political and thug power it wants, to keep new EU and eventual US business concessions to themselves, and prohibit anyone else in Iran from doing any of what is above all, their business. Which is why only the few gulliblest EU of the overwhelmingly gullible EU, have actually signed any contracts with Iran. Especially Europeans don’t do corruption well. Or bribery. Which they think is a delicious Iranian bread.
Think of all this as the present day version of the Mafia, owning everything. Including City Hall. And the White House. And God.
Which is why, so far, while the BMC are frantically trying to close exclusive distribution deals for themselves, with traditionally shoddy EU companies, from traditionally shoddy EU countries, that make traditionally shoddy consumer products no one else wants (like Peugeots), nothing but nothing in Iran has been marked “Now On Sale!”
And Allah willing, nothing ever will.
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