July 14, 2015

My hot take on the Iran nuclear proliferation deal — and #oilprices

Well, it looks like the US and partners have finally gotten Iran to sign off on a nuclear energy non-proliferation deal.

Among the good news is that the non-enrichment period is now 15 years, not 10. That's long enough for Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, to have died, and hopefully, the whole Supreme Guardian Council system to start crumbling. (Khamenei turns 76 this week.)

Verification procedures are supposed to remain in place forever.

That said, there are issues of concern.

One the story notes is what access the International Atomic Energy Agency will have to dissident-type scientists inside Iran.

Another, which is more guesstimate than anything else, is to what degree leading world powers would restore sanctions if Iran got intransigent? The US and EU would likely act strongly. China and Russia, not.

It's not a treaty, so President Obama can veto any no vote in either house of Congress. Will that happen? I'd say about 50-50.

And, for the neocon foreign policy division of wingnuts, this becomes a new 2016 electoral issue. Let's see what an über-warhawk like Lindsey Graham does; he's already, er, gone ballistic about the deal.

Beyond that, there's one neocon foreigner to worry about: Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. I'd venture there's about a 5 percent chance that — without consulting with all his cabinet — he engages in some sort of major covert action against Iran. Not just "any" but "major." Short of that, he's going to try to get a veto-proof no in at least one house.

(Unfortunately, some hawkish Dems, like Sen. Bob Menendez, D-Corruption, are leaning no as well.)

Was this the best we could have gotten? Short of bombing Iran, it's at least in the 80th percentile, if not 85 or better, in my opinion. And, our European allies seem to agree. They note that sanctions were likely to erode in the future, and the odds of getting even tougher sanctions to push Iran into a "better" deal were almost nil.

Other "winners" include:
1. President Obama's reputation
2. World peace
3. Middle East stability

Other "losers" include
1. Wingnuts
2. Texas oil producers; this will already get factored into world oil prices, and even more so, once more Iranian oil starts getting exported

I'd venture now that not only does West Texas Intermediate stay below $65 for the rest of this quarter, it might stay below $60 for all of the fourth quarter.

And, if Tom Kloza of OPIS is right about the return of $2 gas by the end of the year, oil will indeed be at or below $60. So, add the Texas budget to the list of "losers," even as this is yet another argument for an every-year legislature in the Pointy Abandoned Object State. (And, I'll give at least 2-1 odds he's right.)

That said, probably not a lot of Iranian oil is going to come online immediately. However, the deal also provides Middle East stability.

And, more oil from Iran WILL come online in 2016 and beyond. Yet one more reason Texas needs an every-year legislature.

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