Oil Prices Spike as Iran Nuclear Crisis Heats Up

U.S. policy toward Iran has been rich on rhetoric but lacking any identifiable action to deter President Ahmadinejad's uninterrupted nuclear weapons pursuit.

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger follows Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti's speech at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.

Gregg Laskoski is a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger knows that the pursuit of peace often requires artful negotiation as well as heavy lifting. He chooses his words with extreme discernment and precision. 

When the 89-year-old statesman spoke last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland he seemed to have delivered a less than subtle criticism of U.S. policy toward Iran which has been rich on rhetoric but lacking any identifiable action to deter President Ahmadinejad's uninterrupted nuclear weapons pursuit. BBC quoted Kissinger as follows:

There has emerged in the region the current and most urgent issue of nuclear proliferation. For 15 years, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have declared that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable, but it has been approaching.

In a few years people will have to come to a determination of how to react or (endure) the consequences of non-reaction. I believe this point will be reached in a very foreseeable future.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on Iran.]

Kissinger added, "Unilateral intervention by Israel would be a desperate last resort, but the Iranians have to understand that if they keep using the negotiations to gain time to complete a nuclear program then the situation will become extremely dangerous."

And that time may have already arrived. The Jerusalem Post reports that an Iranian dissident turned CIA operative, Reza Kahlili said a massive blast rocked Iran's Fordow nuclear installation last week and Israel tops the short list of suspects.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on the Middle East.]

On Tuesday the Jerusalem Post's report said:

"It's the largest case of sabotage in decades," Kahlili said. "This is the center of the Iranian nuclear program. It is essential for the regime, its activities and its nuclear program. If such a blow was given to Fordow, it definitely harms [Iran] drastically. They were reaching for 20 percent uranium enrichment and were increasing output," he added.

The newspaper's source expressed confidence that the alleged blast would receive "further coverage in the U.S." and that "more information" will become available to verify the incident.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on gas prices.]

With that news NYMEX crude oil has surpassed $97 per barrel, reaching its highest level since May 2012. Perhaps U.S. media may turn their attention to an approaching war in the Middle East now that Beyonce's lip-syncing has been uncovered.

So here we are. A former U.S. secretary of state says the Iran/Israel impasse pushes us closer to "the possibility of a nuclear conflict at some point…that would be a turning point in human history." And published reports this week announce that U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is waiting on an apology. Not from Iran's President Ahmadinejad. From Beyonce.

You can't make up this stuff.