A number of commentators hold that the primary reason america will attack Iran is to defend the dollar as a global currency. Iran is alleged to be threatening the role of the dollar as the sole currency for oil transactions by setting up an oil bourse on which oil can be bought and sold for euros – just as Saddam threatened the dollar by selling Iraqi oil for euros. Paradoxically, most of those supporting such an hypothesis are anti-war commentators –both on the left and the (paleo) right wing.
The big political danger of the petro-dollar explanation of the war against Iran is that both left, and right, wing anti-war activists are in effect providing a justification for the war they are supposedly seeking to avert. Although the proponents of the petro-dollar hypothesis are anti-war, and personally do not regard the petro-dollar hypothesis as a justification for an american attack on Iran, it has to be suggested that for many Americans this hypothesis would provide sufficient justification for war. If Americans are told that Iran is devaluing the dollar in their pocket and threatening to bring about the collapse of the American economy they are going to want to know why America hasn’t started bombing iran. In their eyes, such a war would be self-defence, defending their way of life. There is a considerable danger that anti-war critics are going to find their explanation for the likelihood of an American attack on Iran is a self fulfilling prophesy which helps to win popular support for the war.
This article highlights the commentators promoting the petro-dollar hypothesis but does not seek to examine the merits of this hypothesis.
The Economic Origins of the Petro-Dollar/Oil Bourse Thesis
The idea that iran’s proposed oil bourse would pose a threat to the global supremacy of the dollar started primarily as an economic speculation.