Iran's hostilities to Israel are well-known. Its leader has long campaigned for the destruction of the Israel state. So what can one make of these preparations - is there going to be a war, or is this or political rhetoric?
There is no possibility of a win by Iran, however it could launch medium range missiles against Israel. The question is whether it would get a chance, and would it take that move. Is a settlement likely? The reality is that a number of Arab states have pushed the West to a critical point. During the early phase these Arab states are emboldened by the appeaser stance of the US and international community.
Does Iran have a right to weapons of mass destruction? After all the US and other countries have that capacity. The difference of course is the politics of the country. The US uses weapons for defense purposes; Iran cannot be trusted to do the same. The reason that Iran cannot be trusted is because it does not respect the freedoms of its own people, so don't expect much compliance with any code of objective law.
Having said that, I think Iran has an idea how far it can push the USA and Israel. I would therefore expect the Iranian government to back down at some point. It is likely that:
1. Iran will back down at the last possible point - as a war is not likely to be popular
2. Iran has a vested interest in preserving hostilities because it keeps oil prices higher. There is a security premium built into oil prices, so Arab states love Iran's actions. They probably joke about it an monthly OPEC meetings.
3. The prospect of war appears to Iranian nationalists, who must be the only group liking the Iranian leader, because of his failed economic policy. In an autocratic state, you can understand a corrupt state wanting money for its centralized coffers rather than any desire to create jobs, so don't expect the Iranian government to care about sanctions. They do however elevate disenchantment with the government because international sanctions are readily identified with the government's economic policy.
The implications for gold are good. In the short term, you can expect a rally in gold; though I would expect gold will fall back once Iran capitulates. This will not be the end of gold however, as there is a greater monetary issue in place. Its unlikely either that an 'Iranian war' will impact on global spending because any sense of fear is likely to die outside of Iran's missile range. One would think the US Defense Dept would be monitoring the movement of Iranian ships. One of course can be skeptical of government department's though. But that extends to the conceptual skills of the Iranian government as well. Its like watching two drunks fighting and wondering who is going to win.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com