LONDON - Sanctions on Iran are so intricately woven that they will be very hard to untangle, while their impact in swelling Iran's black economy could undermine regional stability for years to come, the International Crisis Group says in a new report.
Read the full story
Describing the "unintended consequences" of sanctions, the report noted that those with the best access to state resources, including the elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), had been best placed to circumvent the sanctions, while smuggling networks had become an integral part of the economy.
"This does not necessarily harm the regime. To the contrary, it has facilitated a symbiosis between state-affiliated organizations such as the IRGC and transnational smuggling networks," it said.
"Over time, organized crime networks likely will become more sophisticated, enabling them to survive even after sanctions have been lifted. Iran's proximity to two countries rating highest on the corruption scale - Iraq and Afghanistan - likely contributes to cross-border criminality, undermining longer-term stability."