In his State of the Union address, United States President Barack Obama said, "Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal."
In the real world, this means Washington is willing to go to war - the economic war is already on - against a country that subscribes to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is not seeking nuclear weapons, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the latest US National Intelligence Estimate.
Obama also said, "The [Tehran] regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent." And it's not the Iranian leadership that is subjected to crippling sanctions; it's the absolute majority of 78 million impoverished Iranians who will pay the price.
In an earlier statement, Obama had "applauded" the European Union's decision to slap its own Iranian oil embargo, adding, "These sanctions demonstrate once more the unity of the international community."
So, let's talk about the "unity of the international community" - which comprises the US, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries, Israel and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council, also known as Gulf Counter-revolution Club); the rest of the world is just a mirage.
BRICS members India and China, together, buy at least 40% of Iran's oil exports, roughly 1 million barrels a day. That's 12% of India's oil needs. As for China, last year it bought 30% more oil from Iran than in 2010, an average of 557,000 barrels a day.
The real "international community" is now very much aware that India will start paying Iranian oil with gold - and not only rupees, via Indian state bank UCO and Turkish state bank Halk Bankasi. Beijing - which already trades with Iran in yuan - may also turn to gold. Needless to say, both Delhi and Beijing are major gold producers and holders of gold assets.
Talk about the Year of the Dragon starting with a bang. And talk about the new year of the Dragon gold standard.
Everyone remembers the doomed United Nations oil-for-food programme that starved Iraqis to death for years prior to the 2003 US invasion/occupation. Average Iraqis paid the terrible price for UN/US sanctions, and oil-for-food only benefited the Saddam Hussein system.
Now it's a much more serious business; the oil-for-gold programme, a BRICS + Iran initiative that will benefit the Islamic Republic leadership and perhaps alleviate the effects of sanctions over the Iranian population. Global consequences: gold shooting up, petrodollar going down, oil traders opening bottles of Moet in droves.
Another BRICS member, Russia, is already trading with Iran in rials and roubles. And an aspiring BRICS member, Turkey - also a Nato member - will not follow the US/EU sanctions unless they are imposed by the UN Security Council (a no-no, because permanent members Russia and China would veto it). In two months, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin - who angers/terrifies Washington and Brussels to Vlad the Impaler levels - is certain to be back as president of Russia. That's when the Atlanticist poodles will see real hardball at play.
Meanwhile, Tehran will never bow down to Western sanctions - much less with multiple lateral/underground mechanisms to sell its oil involving three BRICS members plus US allies Japan and South Korea, which eventually will get exemptions from the Obama administration.
As this never was about a non-existent nuclear weapon, the Tehran leadership only has to follow a supreme strategic parameter; don't fall for any provocation or false flag black ops that would provide the casus belli for a US/British/Israel axis of war attack.
And all this while trends in the - overcast - horizon point to what could be dubbed an Asian Dollar Exclusion Zone, which for many sharp minds in the developing world might pave the way for an energy-backed currency used by the BRICS and the Group of 77 (G-77) to counter the increasingly desperate - and clueless - Atlanticist West.
Back to the European poodle parade, one just has to examine the joint statement issued by these mediocrity monstrosities - British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and neo-Napoleonic "liberator of Libya", French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The trio said, "We have no quarrel with the Iranian people." Iraqis heard exactly the same thing from another set of mediocrities in 2002 and 2003. Then their country was invaded, occupied and destroyed.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalised World is Dissolving into Liquid War – Asia Times Online