Iran Faces Its Nightmare: Falling Oil

Suddenly negotiating is starting to look pretty smart, says Friedman
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2008 9:24 AM CDT
Barack Obama speaks at a rally in Harrisonburg, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama's promise to negotiate with Iran once seemed like a dubious idea to Thomas Friedman—pre-conditions or not, the US had no leverage. But everything's changed now that the price of oil is at $57 and falling, writes the New York Times columnist. Once the mullahs went on a "domestic subsidy binge" to quell dissent, but now galloping inflation and high unemployment can't be swept under the Persian carpet.

Past UN sanctions haven't worked because the high price of oil has cushioned Iran. Now it's going to hurt—and there's every chance that a President Obama will get to negotiate on Iran's nuclear program on his own terms. "After all," writes Friedman, "it was the collapse of global oil prices in the early 1990s that brought down the Soviet Union. And Iran today is looking very Soviet to me."