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U.S. military action against Iran would incur high global economic costs: study

English.news.cn   2012-11-16 13:31:50            

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. military action against Iran would incur massive global economic costs, according to a report released Thursday by the Federation of American Scientists.

The U.S.-led West charges Iran with embarking on a nuclear weapons program that flouts international law, while the Islamic Republic maintains that its nuclear program is peaceful amid a tense relationship between the two states that some believe could come to military blows.

Analysts from numerous disciplines outlined six possible scenarios and the costs they would incur for the first three months. Costs were measured in terms of U.S. military spending, trauma to international stock exchanges, the global price of oil, and physical damage to Iran.

The report makes no policy prescriptions and is simply intended as a "what if" study to determine the outcome of hypothetical U.S. actions.

The first scenario is increasing pressure: The U.S. ops to impose a new round of sanctions that penalize any foreign banks -- public and private -- that conduct transactions with any Iranian bank that does business with the Central Bank of Iran. Estimated global costs amount to 64 billion U.S. dollars.

In the second scenario, the U.S. imposes a Gulf blockade. Among other actions, the U.S. moves to curtail any exports of refined oil products, natural gas, energy equipment, and services. Investments in Iran's energy sector are banned worldwide. Estimated costs are around 325 billion dollars.

The third scenario involves surgical strikes. The U.S. would lead a limited airstrike and Special Forces campaign on nuclear facilities and military installation that are of acute concern. The estimated global economic costs would be 713 billion dollars.

Costs rise substantially for a comprehensive bombing campaign, the fourth possible scenario, in which the U.S. would lead an ambitious air assault campaign that targets not only the nuclear facilities but also seeks to limit Iran's ability to retaliate by targeting its other military assets. The estimated cost is 1.1 trillion dollars to the global economy.

The fifth scenario is one that the authors say is the least likely -- a full scale U.S. invasion. The U.S. would resolve to invade, occupy and disarm the Islamic Republic at an estimated cost of 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars for the first three months.

The sixth and final scenario is de-escalation. The U.S. would experiment with a new approach to resolving the standoff with Iran by unilaterally taking steps to show the U.S. is willing to make concessions. There would be no costs, rather a 60 billion U.S. dollar benefit to the global economy.

Editor: Hou Qiang
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