Israeli security sources said Tuesday that Iran’s nuclear program has cost the regime $170 billion, with more than three-quarters of the total resulting from tough international economic sanctions imposed during the past year, the Times of Israel
Citing a report from Agence France-Presse, The Times said Iran’s nuclear program cost Iran $40 billion over the past two decades, or roughly $2 billion a year.
But Western sanctions put in place one year ago have already cost Iran $130 billion, the Israelis claim, with $105 billion coming from the oil sector and the rest from the investment and development sectors and banking, trade, and industry.
The estimates were released as Iran and Western powers led by the Obama administration have been locked in intensive negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The talks, which have reached an impasse, have been aimed at bringing about an easing of sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to freeze its nuclear program.
Along with Saudi Arabia and France, Israel has been sharply critical of this approach, fearing that the prospective deal would give Tehran the opportunity to secretly continue and even expand its nuclear efforts once free from the debilitating effects of sanctions.
The proposed relaxation of sanctions would mean that “Iran is not required to take apart even one [uranium enrichment] centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, according to Israel National News
The Israeli sources also quantified what they said were the amounts of money provided by Iran to President Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime, the Lebanese jihadist organization Hezbollah and the militant Gaza groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Nearly $10 billion went to Hezbollah, with between $1.3 billion to $1.8 billion to Hamas and hundreds of millions to Syria, Israeli sources said. But they did not specify when and within what time frame the Iranian assistance had arrived.
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