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Iran, Sanctions and War: the Oil Factor

Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007

U.S.-Iran relations have been growing more tense as the standoff over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program continues, prompting speculation about the significance of the "oil factor" in Iran's domestic politics and in its relationship with the outside world.

Is Iran importing gasoline because it is running out of oil? Do the fuel riots in Iran earlier this year mean that sanctions against Iran are working? Would Iran use the oil weapon? Can the oil weapon be used against Iran? These questions are crucial, but attempts to answer them have often been misleading and characterized by hyperbole. But putting the oil factor in context is important if there is to be an accurate analysis of current U.S.-Iran relations, and of Iran's role in the global energy market. ...

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