Fartashphoto's Blog

Mullen: US `very ready’ to counter Iran on nukes

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on December 19, 2010

Oil and gas prices in Iran could rise starting Sunday, as the government initiates the latest phase of a subsidy regulation initiative aimed at bolstering the nation’s struggling economy.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranian TV on Saturday evening that prices for some energy-related items could change starting the next day.

“In this stage, we don’t want to release prices, rather we are going to regulate and reform them,” Ahmadinejad said, as quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency.

Iran has $10 trillion in oil resources alone, plus natural gas reserves worth between $3.5 and $4.5 trillion, International Monetary Fund mission Chief Dominique Guillaume said in an interview posted earlier this fall on that world body’s website. But its economy nonetheless has seen lackluster growth, including between 1% and 2% of GDP this past year.

Despite its abundance of fuel, Iran has been pushing to expand its nuclear program. Many in the international community, including U.S. officials, have expressed grave concerns and successfully pushed for sanctions fearing that Tehran might be trying to develop nuclear weapons.

With subsidies that effectively allowed domestic consumers to pay relatively little for oil and gas — far below what they or people anywhere else would pay on the world market — Iran was forfeiting potentially huge revenues, explained IMF Senior Economist Roman Zytek on his group’s website.

The Obama administration and its European allies are prepared to impose additional sanctions if Iran fails to meet international demands to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful, a senior U.S. official said Friday.

“From my perspective I see Iran continuing on this path to develop nuclear weapons, and I believe that that development and achieving that goal would be very destabilizing to the region,” Mullen said.

“We’re very ready,” Mullen said an unusually direct acknowledgment that the United States has contingency plans to counter Iran should it make a move. “There are real threats to peace and stability here, and we’ve made no secrets of our concerns about Iran.”

He gave no specifics about U.S. plans or defenses, but the Navy base is headquarters for ships and aircraft that monitor Iran and could be used to deter or defend against what military officials fear would be an attack that would come without warning. The base also houses Patriot missiles.

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