Will the death of the Tehran Regime be spelled Lloyds?
Recent developments seem to indicate that American and European policy is the correct one, that is no equilibrium can be reached with the clerical regime in Tehran that does not require a massive re-alignment of Iranian political goals vis a vis the atomic issue. Multiple sources now claim the existence of an explosives containment vessel, sanitizing teams who clean atomic sites ahead of IAEA inspection teams, a refusal to turn over documents to the IAEA or permit interviews or Iranian nuclear personnel. The emerging picture increasingly indicates a regime that is in fact pursuing the military not peaceful applications of the split atom.
This makes the push for sanctions over the past decade extremely prescient. The economy of Iran is now entering its death throes, sanctions already in place and scheduled to go in to effect soon have combined with the way the commodities markets operate to create the worlds biggest floating oil reserve. Nearly all of Iran's fleet of tankers is now floating off the coast of Kharg island fully loaded and unable to move. The oil Iran is pumping from the ground might be able to find buyers, but it cannot find insurance. Lloyd's of London is the only place to go for tanker insurance and Lloyds will no longer write policies on Iranian oil, as a result non Iranian tankers will not carry it and destination countries won't permit uninsured Iranian flagged tankers anywhere near their coasts for obvious reasons.
It will not be long until Iran has no more storage capacity ashore or afloat, then the oil pumping must stop. What effect this will have on an increasingly aging and obsolete oil infrastructure is speculative but unlikely to be beneficial, old equipment turned off often wont turn back on. Plus the sudden lack of an oil industry will create unemployment problems at the same time that the supply of American dollars (ironic isn't it) dries up and the regime can no longer buy a even a semi-silence from the Iranian people. This is a huge problem for the regime.
The regime knows that if the Iranian people again speak out as they did a few years ago the leadership is now in a much weaker position to resist them. The velvet cover has been pulled off the glove so the people will know whats coming and have steeled themselves to it. Further, the Syrians, Libyans, Moroccans and Egyptians have demonstrated how an oppressed people can take on a regime and not fold; If fact is the Syrian Regime folds, Iran will join the ranks of the Palestinians as the only groups too weak to throw off their oppressors.
Also weakening the regime is the failure to deliver economic reforms. In fact progress made since the end of the Iran-Iraq war to industrialize and build up a credible educational and technological foundation is unraveling. Iran went from having an increasingly diverse and sophisticated industrial/technological base albe to begin exporting to the world market to a land of shuttered factories.
Likewise the clerics have not been able to handle the drug crisis, have not responded to popular support to liberalize or answer questions about the nature of the Iranian democracy- is it a democratic system under a sharia umbrella or merely a thin and false veneer on a new monarchy? As Ahmadinejad's second term winds down an increasingly common question will be: is the Supreme Leader the new shah and the president little more than his vizier? The office of the president is constitutionally limited to two terms- yet after the brutal way the current office holder kept power and way he was then made to kiss the ring of the Supreme leader leave one wondering. If the president has to kiss the ring, was that ringed hand the one that wielded the basiji clubs during the protests a few years ago.
Then of course there is the Iraq problem... Despite Iran's best efforts, Iraq is free not a puppet and the US won. As the new Iraq solidifies and gains steam it is providing Iranians with a close up look at what a successful toppling of an oppressive regime might look like long term. That a toppling doesn't have to simply swap one dictator for another.
All these factors combine to dictate how the regime will perceive the world around it. Combine these factors with the regimes long term efforts to castigate and demonize everyone around it ad the increasing siege mentality at home and abroad and for them there is no win-win, only win-lose.