JERUSALEM -- While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed for the United States to take a harder line to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, an Israeli government report says existing measures have had an impact inside Iran, a less pessimistic take on the results of U.S.-led sanctions.
An internal review by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, reported Thursday by Haaretz newspaper, found that resentment and frustration is building among the Iranian public.
The review found that Iranians are blaming their government for rising prices on bread, meat and electricity, caused by Western sanctions against Iran’s oil industry and central bank.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said this week the rising pressure was threatening to destabilize the Iranian regime. “There is more and more domestic resentment there," he said. “The Iranian leadership is also feeling this and is therefore escalating its rhetoric.”
Others inside Netanyahu's Likud Party agree the international pressure and U.S. threats to take military action against Iran are working to intimidate the regime.
“The good news is that they haven’t broken out to build a weapon yet," said Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor, adding that he did not believe the Iranian government would do so because “they understand what it means.”
Meanwhile, Israeli citizens remain anxious about a possible regional war that some fear could result from an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear program. A Tel Aviv University survey this week found that half of Israelis fear for their nation's existence if war with Iran were to break out.
-- Edmund Sanders
Photo: A visitor looks at portraits of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the exhibition "Faces of Power" by Greek photographer Platon Antoniou in Cologne, Germany. Credit: Martin Meissner / Associated Press