Steinitz: Sanctions Relief Worth $40 Billion to Tehran

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

A sanctions relief package offered to Iran as part of nuclear negotiations could be worth up to $40 billion to Tehran, or 40 percent of the impact of the sanctions, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Wednesday.

Steinitz said Israel believed the sanctions put in place by the United States and European Union last year cost Iran’s economy around $100 billion per year, or nearly a quarter of its output.

“The sanctions relief directly will reduce between 15 to 20 billion dollars out of this amount,” Steinitz said on Wednesday at a conference in Yerushalayim.

He said that the proposed changes would also make it more difficult to enforce other sanctions, providing a total benefit to Tehran of up to $40 billion:

“The damage to the overall sanctions, we believe, will be something between $20 billion and maybe up to $40 billion,” he said.

“This is very significant. It’s not all the sanctions. It’s not the core sanctions about oil exports and the banking system, but it’s very significant relief for the Iranians.”

The talks are scheduled to resume on Nov. 20 and the sides say they are optimistic that progress can be made.

Several Western officials contacted by Reuters declined to confirm or deny specific figures for the value of the sanctions relief on offer and cautioned against revealing the terms of a hypothetical deal at such an early stage.