"The launch of INSTEX — or the "Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges” — by
France, Germany and the UK to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran, is
seemingly a European circumvention of unilateral US sanctions on Iran, yet I
believe it is merely another Trojan Horse tool in a wider transatlantic ‘good
cop / bad cop’ production meant to inevitably infiltrate Iran’s banking, energy,
industrial, defense, security and technological firewall capabilities across
various industries,” Pye Ian told Tasnim.
Pye Ian is an independent economic and geopolitical researcher as well as a strategic planning and business development advisor. His articles and analyses on international affairs, economic trends and cultural topics have been published in various mainstream and alternative press sources. Ian’s wider intellectual interests are reflected in his writings on the convergence of foreign affairs, political philosophy, history, global finance and energy policy. He has undergraduate degrees in economics and political science from the University of California and a Master’s degree in finance from Cambridge University.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Q: After months of foot-dragging, Britain, France and Germany in early Feb. issued a joint statement on the creation of a new trading system called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) that will allow trade between the EU and Iran without relying on direct financial transactions. What do you think about this mechanism?
Ian: The launch of INSTEX — or the "Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges” — by France, Germany and the UK to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran, is seemingly a European circumvention of unilateral US sanctions on Iran, yet I believe it is merely another Trojan Horse tool in a wider transatlantic ‘good cop / bad cop’ production meant to inevitably infiltrate Iran’s banking, energy, industrial, defense, security and technological firewall capabilities across various industries. The US obviously serving as bad cop here, with its EU partners serving as good cops, all meant ultimately to penetrate Iranian financial and production capacities as much as possible under the auspices of facilitating humanitarian goods-related transactions only, including food, medicine, and medical equipment.
Let’s not forget that the damaging Stuxnet virus of a decade ago, which was launched by US and Israeli cyber-terrorism efforts, reached its target via the networks of trusted business partners. Early versions of the malware seemed dedicated to intelligence gathering, but then later versions started attacking internal infrastructure.
That mal-intentioned history is fairly recent, as is the more tellingly united transatlantic approach to Iranian ally and fellow heavy oil-rich independent nation, Venezuela, where you have the UK, France, Spain, Belgium and the wider EU all on the same page as Washington with regard to demanding that President Maduro step down in favor of a more western-compliant leadership. A return to puppet-state status, basically. Ask why the US & EU would necessarily differ in their collective approaches toward Iran & Venezuela, when both nations are deemed as needing "regime change” ASAP by said Atlanticists? It’s simply because of assigned tactical differences, yet the same underlying strategy toward both persists.
Also, Iran is launching its 'crypto-Rial' cryptocurrency, reportedly meant for facilitating future banking and institutional transactions, and will be followed by a cryptocurrency that will be for more mainstream use. Related, Venezuela’s already launched its Petro cryptocurrency, which is meant ultimately for pricing & trading oil and other resources globally as well. The Petro in Caracas is seen as a deep systemic fiscal threat by Washington, especially because the Russian/Chinese allied approach toward Venezuela is helping with it. The clearly unified transatlantic, Atlanticist west, which invented the internet & blockchain technologies, will thus certainly not allow Russian & Chinese-allied Iran nor Venezuela to simply circumvent its economic, fiscal & thus political mandates – especially in oil pricing & trading - yet ostensibly needs different tools for addressing each country, seeing that, despite heavy sanctions, trade & currency wars against each nation, Iran’s internal situation is today more sophisticated than Venezuela’s. Hence the deployment of seemingly friendly European states in supposedly "going around” US sanctions.
Q: In one of your recent interviews, you equated the generally "belligerent western approaches toward both Venezuela and Iran, essentially due to the same reasons i.e. oil, gold, independence, leaning East and South globally and de-dollarization”. Please explain more.
Ian: It’s no secret that, as mentioned, Iran & Venezuela both retain vast amounts of untapped oil and other valuable natural resources. Yet both are also working independently to circumvent dollar reliance for their energy resource pricing, trading and receipt recycling. This significant political step is due in part to punishing dollar-based economic sanctions, currency attacks, embargoes and trade wars imposed against both Tehran and Caracas by the west, and partly because their global eastern and southern hemispheric allies – foremost Russia and China – are seeking to hoist and sustain a multipolar international economic and geopolitical order free of imperial, "Full Spectrum Dominance” mandates from the increasingly belligerent actors pushing "The Washington Consensus”.
The US dollar has served as global reserve currency since the end of World War II. It has also been a fiat currency – meaning a currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but which is not backed by a physical commodity – since August 15th, 1971, when the Nixon Administration in the US ended the convertibility of dollars into physical gold, which was a key economic stipulation resulting from the Bretton Woods Conference held just before the end of World War II.
Two years after "the gold window” ended, Washington struck a key deal with Saudi Arabia to have oil exclusively priced in US dollars, with the rest of OPEC following suit with said plan in 1975. "Petrodollar Recycling” resulted, where dollar earnings for oil production & commerce would be ‘recycled’ into US Treasury Bonds. The total deal ended up replacing direct gold tethering with indirect oil reliance, essentially, with regard to the means for continuing to prop the US dollar up as reserve currency. "Confidence” in the dollar continues unabated because oil bought anywhere must be priced, traded & reinvested using dollars. It also allowed Washington to, in essence, print dollars infinitely for any purpose without endangering its deficits like any other nation would.
Said deal also enabled the dollar to eventually be used as a weapon against any other currency on earth, considering that the rest of the world’s currencies are, by default, fiat as well, following the dollar’s imposed lead. That ‘dollar weaponization’ thus results in the rather easy ability of Washington to negatively target dollar exchange rates. We’ve seen the purposefully deleterious results of such a tool fall upon the Iranian rial, the Venezuelan bolívar, the Russian ruble, the Zimbabwean dollar, and certainly even the Turkish lira, all as political acts from Washington and London. As the national currency weakens, the intention goes, so would eventually the targeted government’s hold on power, thereby resulting in – at the least – mass, continuing, destabilizing riots in the streets. If the targeted government doesn’t ‘change its ways’, then the pressure is ratcheted up via sustaining those mass riots while a military coup or its ilk would be planned within said nation.
The responses from nations such as Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China and even NATO-membered Turkey (which defeated its Washington-backed coup attempt in 2016, with tacit Russian assistance) have been to individually and more importantly, collectively, seek "de-dollarization”, which includes generally seeking to reduce dollar-based transactions, dumping US Treasury Bonds out of their national reserves, relying upon bilateral currency usages with other nations (I.E. ruble/yuan, lira/ruble, rial/yuan, etc.), and most critically, aiming at reimplementing key commodity backing for their currencies. In the cases of both the Iranian and Venezuelan national currencies, the reintroduction of the use of physical gold for affording solvency & credibility to their currencies has been carried out over the past few years.
In turn, tying such rejuvenated currencies to how they wish to price, trade and recycle the earnings for oil, natural gas and minerals trades out of their respective territories has also been spearheaded as a geostrategic response to years of economic harassment & outright acts of war from the west.
Lastly, innovation research into exploring how safe, protected and deployable (scalability-wise) the use of cryptocurrencies would be vis-à-vis both the gold and oil tie-ins for national currencies has been proceeding in said independent nations as well.
Importantly, the assistance of Russia and China for conceptualizing, implementing and inevitably scaling such de-dollarization has been vital because Moscow & Beijing are more tightly allied now than ever before. Through the combination of their natural resources (oil, natural gas, gold, steel, coal, copper, etc.), economic prowess (China’s is the strongest human resource production engine in world history), political visions and international institutional mobilizations (the Eurasian Economic Union, New Silk Road, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Asian Infrastructure Bank & New Development Bank, BRICS, etc.), and last but not least, combined military capabilities (millions of combined personnel, both nuclear-armed, and having conducted countless joint military drills for many years now), Russia and China lend continual guidance, reassurance & protection to their Eurasian, West Asian, East Asian, African, Latin American and, yes, even European allies & trading partners.
The Atlanticist west, led by the US but including the UK, UK Commonwealth, EU, Israel, Saudi Arabia & other Persian Gulf states, is collectively determined to prevent such independent Eurasian movement away from dollar hegemony, foremost because such a move – successfully actualized and expanded – would devastate the already over-leveraged state of transatlantic banking and finance, which sits on combined amounts of debt numbering in the tens of trillions of dollars. Once synthetic derivatives contracts and other ‘dark finance pool’ instruments are included, then the risk profile issued from western financial institutions measures a cascading fiscal cataclysm as involving hundreds of trillions of dollars.
Why are said massive debt figures significant? Because the sanctity of a) continuing to issue debts endlessly, and b) preventing said debt bubbles from unraveling violently, unpredictably and in politically threatening ways, all rely upon maintaining the US dollar as both the perennial reserve currency and petro-currency standard until the ruling transatlantic Establishment decides to replace said protocols themselves (be it with Special Drawing Rights issued by the IMF as dollar-replacements, or with state-approved cryptocurrencies, or the like). Torpedoing dollar and petrodollar hegemony are what the global East and South seek, and hence the world economy right now resembles a ‘Tug of War’, with currency credibility serving as the ‘rope’ in said battle.
Q: As you know, EU officials have repeatedly expressed the bloc’s determination to preserve the JCPOA. Recently, US Vice President Mike Pence said, "(This is) an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU and create still more distance between Europe and the US”. Do you believe that the EU will finally stand up to the US or it is just a bluff game?
Ian: As I’ve stated, and based upon a sober reading of both history, viable economics and even of esoteric philosophy (as read by the ruling Establishment), it is a bluff game, foremost because the governments, banks & general economic systems of the US, UK, EU and their subject nations are run by the same ultimate Syndicate of power, which is very old, very occult in its epistemological provenance, make-up and aims, and very coordinated in meeting its universal challenges, despite seemingly contradictory stances taken by, say, the US and EU with regard to Iran.
So, EU nations seemingly differ with Washington on Iran, yet I’d be very cautious if I were in Tehran. Where we’ve ended up here on the JCPOA clearly is NOT about preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but about – as mentioned above - sovereign independent national economic imperatives vs. those of an Atlanticist empire which won’t tolerate disobedience.
You’ll notice how the EU is on the same page as Washington & London regarding wanting Maduro out of power in Venezuela in favor of their corporate compliant puppet, Juan Guaidó. And yet we’re led to believe that the US & EU, by contrast, genuinely differ regarding medium to long term preferences on Iran? When, as mentioned, both Iran & Venezuela are oil & resource-rich independent nations working with the global East in divorcing from dollar hegemony?
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas over-spoke in his recent speech by admitting that "our goal remains an Iran without nuclear weapons, precisely because we see clearly how Iran is destabilizing the region".
Wow. Really, Europe? If that is how you truly feel, then Maas just revealed some of the transatlantic community’s playing cards, as this is clearly a ‘good cop/bad cop’ theatrical routine, with the EU playing good cop & the US & its tightest allies playing bad cops.
Iran does NOT intend upon pursuing nuclear weapons & Tehran has made that abundantly clear for years now by holding steadfastly to the JCPOA nuclear agreement. Instead, this is really about preventing Iran from pursuing an independent economic & global energy policy, just as it is against Venezuela doing the same. Sustained global non-dollar oil trading by Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China & Turkey would trigger incalculable instability across global bond and equity markets, causing immediate failure for already endangered banks which carry trillions in debts on (and purposefully off of) their official balance sheets. Hence the ramped up belligerent talk by Washington against both Iran & Venezuela.
US Vice President Pence also criticized the initiative of France, Germany and Britain to allow European companies to continue operating in Iran despite US sanctions. That is also a tool of deception, via a smokescreen criticism, as the US, UK & EU want corporate, technological & intelligence transparency across the totality of Iranian banks, companies, and everything else, one way or another.
Q: Will the JCPOA stand?
Ian: It is hard to tell, yet the proverbial ball is in the court of the US and its faithfully compliant allies. This is because – again – Iran has been both adherent to the JCPOA’s mandates and stipulations, and forthright in goodwill fashion about its wish to continue to abide by the JCPOA.
Yet the JCPOA obviously did not achieve what it partly set out to do – namely, either force a presumably frustrated Iran to pull out of the agreement – thereby giving a casus belli for the west to take harsher measures against Tehran – or yield other desired political capital, such as blowback at home, where Iranians revolt against a seemingly weak government. Hence why the Trump Administration – run ultimately by behind-the-scenes neoconservative and neoliberal planners beholden conclusively to the sweeping, coordinated Syndicate or Establishment I referenced above, rather than by either Trump, his Cabinet or even his ‘advisors’ – voiced irrational frustration over the JCPOA from even before Trump’s admission into the White House. They’ve been out-witted and outclassed by Tehran, and so now need to mix strategies up a bit via their appointed "Madman Theory”-laden disruptive politician in chief.