The crude oil market is getting a bit of a break on slower growth expectations coming out of China and a slowdown in the march toward war. President Obama blustered a warning of his own saying loose talk of war could actually help Iran. The fears driving oil prices could put more money in Iran’s pockets making sanctions less effective. The President said that, "Over the last few weeks such talk has only benefited the Iranian government by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program." "For the sake of Israel's security, America's security and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster."
Of course that bluster has helped Iran and it may be one reason that Iran started that Saudi pipeline explosion rumor and once again it seems like Iran may try to negotiate with the world community while the drum beat of the war drums get louder and louder. Word is that they may re-invite the weapon inspectors back to their country. Whether it is good faith or not remains to be seen, but based on past history it is likely that this is another ploy to buy some more time. The New York Times says that, “Mr. Obama, who has often lamented the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003, made reference to European and American intelligence assessments that have found no evidence that Iran has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon. Recent assessments by American spy agencies have also reaffirmed intelligence findings in 2007 and 2010 that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program.”
Israel also may want to soften the war tone as well. The AFP reports that, “Israelis are skeptical of their leaders'. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday he will not set "red lines" for military action against Iran, insisting he wanted to preserve the Jewish state's freedom to maneuver." "I have not set down red lines to the United States and will not set down red lines," he said. "I want to reserve Israel's freedom to maneuver in light of threats every country would demand that hard-line approach toward Iran, increasingly favoring U.S. President Barack Obama's more cautious tack. Only 19% of Israelis support attacking Iran without the blessing of the U.S. to prevent Tehran from gaining a nuclear weapon, according to a University of Maryland survey of 500 people released last week. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will meet Mr. Obama at the White House on Monday, has been pressing Washington to be more forceful.
The other big news is China, where Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a State-of-the-nation speech where he warned growth would slow to 7.5% on a weakening export picture.