Israeli report: Sanctions taking toll on Iran


Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, prepares to address the United Nations General Assembly with part of his speech text visible on September 27, 2012 in New York City.


Mario Tama

A report from Israel's Foreign Ministry called for additional international sanctions against Iran, appearing to acknowledge that there might still be a chance to deter Iran's nuclear program through sanctions and diplomacy, according to The New York Times.

Details of the report were leaked to Israeli newspaper Haaretz and were published on Thursday morning as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to address the United Nations General Assembly. The report seems to contradict Netanyahu's assertions during his speech that sanctions against Iran have not worked.

The report said international sanctions leveled against Tehran have caused more damage to the Iranian economy than previously thought. It said there had been a 50 percent decline in Iranian oil exports over the past year and a slump in the value of Iran's currency, according to Reuters.

"There are indications that the average citizen is actually blaming Iranian leadership for the situation and not the West, which has imposed the sanctions," an unnamed foreign ministry official told Haaretz.

An Israeli official, who declined to be identified, confirmed the contents of the report, according to Reuters, but said there was no proof that economic sanctions were dissuading Iran's leaders from pursuing their nuclear program.

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The Times said the report suggests that sanctions are having a deep impact on Iran's economy, as well as affecting the stability of the government.

Earlier today, Netanyahu said, "For over seven years the international community has tried sanctions with Iran, under the leadership of President Obama, the international community has passed some of the strongest sanctions to date," according to the Associated Press. "It's had an effect on the economy, but we must face the truth, sanctions have not stopped Iran's nuclear program either."

Netanyahu has argued recently that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities may be the only answer to an undeterred Iran, calling upon the United States to draw a "red line" or issue an ultimatum, which President Barack Obama has so far resisted doing.

According to the AP, President Shimon Peres and others in Israel want to give sanctions and other measures more time to pressure the Iranians to the negotiating table.

The UN has already placed four rounds of sanctions on Iran, which insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful means.

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