U.S. Officials Admit They Underestimated Iran Sanctions Relief

YERUSHALAYIM -

Senior officials in the Obama administration have privatedly conceded that they understimated the value to Iran of the economic sanctions relief, Haaretz reported on Wednesday, quoting security sources in Israel.

In conversations over the past few days with colleagues in Israel, the Americans admitted that official estimates at the time of signing of the deal with Iran were $6 billion or $7 billion, it now appears that Iran will benefit by as much as $25 billion. Such a reassessment bears out the Israeli assessments at the time of at least $20 billion.

“Economics is a matter of expectations,” the U.S. officials explained. “The Iranian stock exchange is already rising significantly and many countries are standing in line to renew economic ties with Iran based on what was  already agreed in Geneva.”

China is seeking renewal of contracts worth about $9 billion to develop the Iranian oil industry, and some German companies are also showing interest.

“In any case, it’s about 20 or 25 billion dollars. Even the Americans understand this,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, an initiative by Republican and Democratic senators and congressmen to bolster the sanctions regime is said to have behind-the-scenes support from senior Israeli officials.

Among the lawmakers are Republican senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Mark Kirk and Congressman Eric Cantor and Democratic senators Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez and Congressman Steny Hoyer.