Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. In an exclusive interview with Khamenei.ir, Koenig responds to questions about Iran's economy of resistance, its economic progress, US sanctions against Iran and more.
The following is the full text of the interview:
QUESTION: How do you think the United States uses economic leverage to harm Iran?
PETER KOENIG: The only way Washington can sanction anyone in the world, including Iran, is through the fraudulent US dollar monetary system, which has been designed totally privately and for the benefit of the Zionist banking cabal. The Federal Reserve Act in itself a fraud, prepared by a few Wall Street bankers and presented under false pretenses to the then President Woodrow Wilson. When President Wilson signed it in December 1913, the Act converted into the Federal Reserve Bank, acting as the US Central Bank, a totally privately owned institution.
Wilson was quoted as saying (1919): "I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit. We are no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."
Ever since the dollar has wreaked havoc around the world, especially as it became de facto the world's reserve currency. Once the IMF — by orders of the US Treasury — abandoned the gold standard in 1971, countries around the world converted large portions of their reserves into dollar denominated securities, amounting to more than 90 percent some 20 years ago.
Today this proportion has diminished drastically, hovering between 50 percent and 60 percent — and sliding further, especially since the Chinese yuan was admitted officially into the IMF's basket of now five reserve currencies — the US dollar, British pound, euro, Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan — which make up the Special Drawing Rights (SDR), a virtual currency, often also used as reserve currency.
The two Breton Woods international financial institutions, the World Bank and the IMF, created by impulse of the United States in 1944, just after WWII, under the Charter of the United Nations to give them more legitimacy, are indeed also just instruments of Washington to manipulate the US dollar bound economies (which also includes the euro). Their neoliberal structural adjustment type operations, for which they have invented different euphemisms to disguise the misery that 'structural adjustments' have created and continue to create in poor but resource rich countries, are sanctions — or a type of blackmail — "privatize your public services and natural resources — or perish under debt".
An important part of economy of resistance is, therefore, for a country to detach herself from these two institutions, as well as gradually but steadily also from the dollar based Western economy. Look East. That's where the future is.
Iran is already doing this, by adhering to the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization). There is a strong axis of economic development forming — Russia, China, Iran promoting the OBOR (One Belt-One Road, also called the new Silk Road) — a massive economic development program, initiated a few years ago by China's President XI Jinping. This project purports to link Vladivostok with Lisbon and Shanghai with Hamburg and everything in between, with transportation networks, industrial and agricultural development, as well as universities and research institutes for scientific new developments.
The West is 'passé' by auto-destruction, through greed-driven wars and conflicts and constant terror acts, lies and deceptions.
Q: Ayatollah Khamenei insists on enriching the capacity of domestic production as one of the principles of economy of resistance. What's your take on that?
The Ayatollah is 100 percent right. Domestic production ('local production for local markets'), not only reduces dependence on imports and foreign (dollar-based) currencies, but it is also one of the fastest way of building local capacity, in production, technology and research. Domestic production uses (mostly) local capital, and adds value inside Iran; it helps accelerating distributive power of GDP — which is a key factor of bringing more equality into society. A more balanced society is also a more productive society, as it enjoys increased well-being for all. It is an upwards spiral.
China, until the mid-eighties had a 'resistance economy' — the goal of becoming self-sufficient, in nutrition, healthcare and education — before opening the borders to foreign investors.
A couple of years ago, after the West imposed its totally illegal and criminal sanctions on Russia, Putin said this was the best thing that could have happened to Russia. It forced Russia to become again self-sufficient in agriculture and industrial production, self-sufficiency Russia lost after the Western banister vultures under the Washington Consensus raided Russia immediately after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2015 Russia was the world's largest exporter of wheat. Today, Russia's industrial manufacturing arsenal is one of the world’s most modern, efficient and driven by cutting-edge technology, largely developed by Russian universities and research institutes. This is Resistance Economy at its best.
Q: "The Islamic establishment seeks all-out progress, independence from global hegemonic powers, full growth of talents, ridding the country of social maladies and [realizing] national dignity and security and might." The quote highlights Ayatollah Khamenei's definition of development and progress; comparing it with development theories. What's novel in this definition in your idea?
This statement shows a clear determination to seek independence from the destructive Western banking and monetary system, as well as from the neoliberal export and international commerce oriented economy. What drives Western economies is 'globalization' — which is aiming at making developing and/or resources rich countries dependent on the Washington banking hegemony and its mostly European vassals. It aims at a unipolar world, a One World Order — or New World Order (NWO) which would gradually eliminate the variety of the world's cultures, replacing them by the Zionist-Anglo-Saxon non-culture. Ever since the Washington Consensus (1989) was defined and decided by the three key purveyors of the US-dollar hegemony, the FED (again, totally privately owned, dominated by the Rothschild, Rockefeller et al banking clan), individual countries' sovereignty is being rapidly eroded, by imposed monetary policies, indebtedness, WTO imposed trade rules and other Consensus lies and deception about faster growth. WTO was in fact the third of the Bretons Woods Organizations — which failed to be approved at the BW Conference, but emerged later as the foster child of the US and the European Union.
Globalization is not equal to internationalism. An internationalist seeks harmony, social justice and equality worldwide and not hegemony, segregation and oppression of the poor and destitute.
According to Jean Ziegler — one of Europe's last true internationalists, a socialist, a member of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee in Geneva — WIII against developing countries has started long ago. It has killed 54 million people in 2016 through wars and other armed conflicts, famine — every five seconds a child dies from malnutrition — contaminated drinking water, lack of hygiene, epidemics that, according to WHO, have been overcome since decades — all of which contribute to increased child mortality — and all of which would be avoidable, but is largely the result of greed driven 'globalization'. Globalization is a killer. And the world is slowly but surely waking up to this fact.
Q: Considering the long lasting economic sanctions on Iran — mostly imposed by US — can we say Iran is in an economic deadlock? Or the time of unilateral economic sanctions has come to an end?
Iran is not in an economic deadlock. Iran is taking all the necessary and precautionary steps to circumvent US and Western vassals imposed criminal sanctions. As I said at the beginning, they can only prevail as long as a country follows the dictate of the Western monetary system. Iran is well on her way to get out of that fraudulent system, by association with China and Russia — and the SCO countries, plus India and Pakistan. These countries, already largely de-dollarized, have about half of the world's population and control more than one third of the world's GDP. That's a great perspective for independence.
The process is not instantaneous, does not happen overnight — but will still take some time because the empire is trying hard to delay the process of its disintegration. It is time and again threatening with war or blackmailing countries into continuing following the dollar hegemony. Washington also uses proxies to subdue and aggress nations, to support and finance ISIL in Syria — and the Zionist regime, those who call the shots in the US Congress, the only Middle Eastern nuclear power, they may still pose a real threat for Iran. But Iran is prepared and has strong allies — Russia and China — and Netanyahu knows it.
The process of breaking loose from the West, requires perseverance. But with steadfast political will, exit from this decaying system is possible. Iran is well on her way to a new, peaceful and constructive economic system.
And best of all, Iran is a bright and shining light for other countries to follow, like Venezuela, Brazil, North Korea and even Europe — those in Europe who are tired of the Washington dictate, but so far haven't dared taking the actions needed to gain back their national sovereignty. That's Key. Being aware of what national sovereignty means is a vital part of resistance economy.