Iran air strike bets on the rise

July 19, 2012

Investors are placing larger bets on the chances of an Israeli or U.S. air strike on Iran by the end of the year after a bomb on a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria  killed seven people yesterday.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “All the signs lead to Iran”, though Defence Minister Ehud Barak sounded more restrained and Iran denied responsibility. Oil hit a seven-week high above $106 a barrel on supply concerns over tensions in the region.

Dublin-based online exchange sees a 26.5 percent chance of an air strike on Iran by Dec 31, compared with 25 percent  a couple of days ago.

Oil has been on a winning streak this month since Iran once more threatened to close the vital shipping route of the Straits of Hormuz following the imposition of EU sanctions on July 1.

Meanwhile, geopolitical risk is rising over Syria, where the situation “rapidly spinning out of control”, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, after the assassination of three of the regime’s top lieutenants yesterday.

Analysts are speculating that Syria’s chemical weapons could be used, either by the existing regime or by rebels.

According to political risk consultancy Maplecroft:

The possibility of militant Islamist groups acquiring weapons and increasingly sophisticated weapons reaching militants in neighbouring states such as Iraq and Lebanon…remains a significant concern

Risks of an air strike on Iran are not huge but they are a possibility, writes Emad Mostaque, Middle East and North Africa strategist at Religare Capital Markets.

Iran would not use WMDs in our opinion if it got them, but we are pretty sure most jihadist groups would. An Israeli airstrike on these facilities remains unlikely, but more jihadist attacks on Israel and Israelis will up the ante on Israel’s need to defend itself in a pre-emptive and very severe manner.

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Let’s be completely straight forward and clear with this topic. If Iran has nuclear weapons – then jihadist groups have nuclear weapons. That linear relationship is NOT indirect. So please refrain from separating the two as it insults your own intelligence. Your misinformation seems to only prove the opposite must be true which is annoying. Which if anyone can translate the opposite of what you just said – there is your answer. Their goals are clear – “Death to Israel and the United States”. These threats are painted all over our stolen Drone RQ-170 which the CIA denied (of course). Preemptive strikes are inevitable so I’d like to know how long it’s going to be so I can be sure I’m watching Reuters when it starts.

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