Hagel and Yaalon discuss nuclear threat 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON - The Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan research arm of
the US Congress, has released a report questioning the efficacy of US efforts to
dissuade Iran from developing its nuclear program through
While noting that the sanctions have been objectively harsh on
the Iranian regime, CRS says that the regimen has roundly failed not only in
dissuading Iran from curbing its nuclear program but also in hindering the
Islamic Republic¹s ability to develop weaponry indigenously, illegally ship arms
overseas to the Assad government, or alter its policy of repression against
those who dissent from government authority.
The economic ramifications
have been real and punishing: oil sales from Iran have halved, the country has
experienced a dramatic decline in GDP and collapse in currency, and the
government's operating budget is in flux such that it can't seem to pay many of
its bills. But protests against these changes have not come to pass, emboldening
the government to continue on its nuclear path, CRS claims.
strategic effects of sanctions might be abating as Iran adjusts to them
economically and advertises the adverse humanitarian effects," the report
charges. "Sanctions do not appear to have reduced Iran's influence or strategic
capabilities in the Middle East." Government affiliates are bartering through
front companies as a response, and wealthier citizens have turned to real estate
as the rial has effectively collapsed.
"Traders are using informal
banking exchange mechanisms and, benefiting from the fall in the value of Iran's
currency, sharply increasing non-oil exports such as agricultural goods,
minerals, and industrial goods," CRS reports.
"Some argue that Iran might
even benefit from sanctions over the long term by being compelled to diversify
its economy and reduce dependence on oil revenues," the report adds.
separate report examining US aid to Israel, CRS estimates that sequestration
will cut aid to Israel by roughly $155 million.
appropriations for Iron Dome and joint US-Israeli missile defense cooperation
are considered non-exempt defense discretionary funding, and are therefore
subject to a 7.8% reduction," the report explains.
CRS emphasized that
the $155m. calculation is an early estimate; the figure could increase if the
departments of state or defense decide to reprogram their aid packages to Israel
in order to compensate for lost funding as a result of
Looking at the long-term history of the aid, CRS affirmed
its importance in a relationship with remarkable consistency but warns that
sequestration might be a sign of what the future holds.
conditions in the United States and Israel may affect future US aid to Israel,"
the report reads. "With the prospect of prolonged fiscal austerity in the United
States, overall American public support for foreign aid may diminish in the