Iran's acceptance of a cease-fire in its war with Iraq could cause major economic and political shifts in a region that has forged eight years of policy around the Persian Gulf war.
An end to the war could also be ominous for Israel. Both Iran and Iraq are enemies of the Jewish state but have been preoccupied with fighting each other.With eight years of hostility to overcome, each side will be highly suspicious of the other's motives _ a factor that could delay a shift away from military spending.
But an end to clashes on land and over the Persian Gulf would remove a major threat to the countries that provide much of the world's oil supplies and sit on half of its known oil reserves.
There would be no need for the United States to maintain a massive and costly fleet in the Persian Gulf to protect oil shipping from war-related attacks _ and to prevent growing Soviet influence.
The removal of the U.S. fleet and U.S. pressure for an arms embargo of Iran would remove a major source of friction between the United States and a country it has long viewed as vitally strategic. Improved relations could benefit the Americans held hostage by pro-Iranian factions in Lebanon.
Iraq and Iran would be free to use some of their massive oil wealth to rebuild their war-ravaged cities, ports and oil facilities rather than buying military hardware from China, France, the Soviet Union and elsewhere.
An end to clashes would lessen hostility between Iran and Iraq's main Arab backers _ Kuwait and Saudi Arabia _ which have suffered missile strikes, attacks on ships and terrorist acts apparently linked to their support of Iraq.
The effect on global oil markets is uncertain.
But freed from Iraqi attacks on its oil shipping, Iran would be able to increase its oil exports at least to the 2.37 million barrels-a-day quota laid down by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Iraq, which has no quota, is producing 2.7 million barrels a day.