The Iranian threat is not in the future. The repercussions are already felt in our daily reality — from the soaring oil prices to the withdrawal of investors from the Israeli market.
Gallons of ink have been spent on analyses and forecasts concerning Iran, and commentators have been attempting to envision the day when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will decide to drop the bomb on Israel. However, have any of these knowledgeable experts imagined that the Iranian threat is already here?
One does not have to go far afield to become aware of the implications. We all feel the Iranian threat close to home — at the gas station. In recent years, oil prices have been skyrocketing, making ever-higher records. The really big problem is that, as the pressure on Iran grows, oil prices are bound to soar proportionally.
But this is only the beginning. Just picture a situation where Iran cuts supplies to the world market or selectively supplies oil to the Arab states alone. Such possibilities are liable to hurl the world into a chaotic whirlpool and may well pose a security — and even an existential — threat no less dangerous than the threat of a nuclear bomb.
The cancellation of deals already agreed on and the withdrawal of investors from the Israeli market cause no less concern. In my capacity as the chairman of an international firm, I encounter more and more cases where investors who were interested in investing in Israel or in an Israeli-made product have recently given up their plans and pulled out over fears for the stability of the region.
The Iranian crisis has various aspects. On the one hand, the sanctions imposed on Iran and the steps taken to isolate it may seem inevitable measures in the endeavor to thwart the Iranian nuclear program. On the other hand, injudicious use of such measures could potentially be no less perilous than a nuclear Iran.
Israel should make every effort to forestall the Iranian threat. However, at the same time, it should outwardly present a confident "business as usual" posture. Undue panic and excessive preoccupation with the Iranian issue are perceived in the world as an indication of weakness and tag Israel as a risky place for doing business. In the long run, the stance adopted by the State of Israel in the present crisis is liable to cost us dearly. And it is not the nuke I am talking about.
The author is the chairman of the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Regional Advisory Council at Baker Tilly International, a leading accountancy and business-advisory network.