Tough Western sanctions may be ‘speeding’ Iran’s nuke advancement: Report
Washington: Tough sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy, but at the same time it also be encouraging defiance by a regime more worried about any appearance of capitulation, a report has said.
A new report, based on 30 in-depth interviews with Iranian officials, analysts, and businessmen, explained Iran’s determined defiance to Western policymakers, who will conduct a fifth round of nuclear negotiations with Iran in Kazakhstan next week.
Sanctions on Iran now include a European oil embargo, exclusion from the SWIFT international banking system that enables Iranian banks to transfer money, and US measures that target Iran’s central bank.
These measures have begun to bite, causing economic isolation and a precipitous fall in both oil revenues and the value of the Iranian currency, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
But Iran has still added thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium, and deployed a more efficient, second-generation centrifuge model; stepped up uranium enrichment levels from 5 percent to 20 percent, which is technically not too far from weapons-grade; and moved its most sensitive work to a deeply buried site impregnable to air attack.
According to the report by Washington-based National Iranian American Council (NIAC), these results so far indicate that pressure is not working, because “escalating sanctions as a [Western] bargaining chip also gives Iran the incentive to advance its program for the same reason.
The NIAC study concludes that, “it is highly unlikely that the regime will succumb to sanctions pressure when no proportionate sanctions relief is put on the table by the P5+1, and capitulation is seen as a greater threat to the regime’s survival than even a military confrontation with the United States,” the paper said.