Friday, January 20, 2006

Iran Prepares To Weather the Storm

President Ahmadinejad is digging his heels into the dirt:

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A defiant Iran announced Friday it has begun pulling its foreign currency accounts out of European banks to protect its assets from possible U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program.

As analysts estimated the amount of those funds at up to $50 billion, Iran also called for a reduction in OPEC oil production - raising the possibility that the country would deploy its oil prowess in its standoff with the West.

Underlining his challenging stance, Iran's hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, held a meeting in Damascus, Syria, on Friday with leaders from the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad...

The currency withdrawal signaled that Iran was willing to weather U.N. punishment rather than abandon its nuclear ambitions,
which the United States and some in Europe say are to develop atomic weapons. Tehran insists its program is for peaceful purposes only.

Friday's move also deprives Europe of an important lever to influence Iran and could weaken its resolve to push Iran to give up key parts of its nuclear program, analysts said.

Let's recap: Iran's president hates the west, is refusing calls from the UNSC to stop Iran's nuclear pursuits, and is now gathering all of Iran's resources so that sanctions are less threatening. This should raise a few red flags.

Iran poses a serious problem. And as it grows more and more evident every day, it puts added emphasis on at least considering the case for invading Iran.