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Israeli Report: Sanctions Are Hitting Iran Hard

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"an enormous effect"

JERUSALEM (TheBlaze/AP) -- A new Israeli government report finds that recent international sanctions are hitting Iran hard, undercutting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's key claim as he heads to the United Nations to argue for tougher action against Israel's arch foe.

The Israeli foreign ministry report finds Iran's oil exports declined 50 percent in the past year, while food and electricity prices have skyrocketed.

An Israeli official confirmed the report, leaked Thursday in Israel's daily Haaretz. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal government documents.

Netanyahu is expected to argue at the U.N. later on Thursday that international sanctions have not convinced Tehran to curb its disputed nuclear program. These developments come as more sanctions are being considered against Iran. The Global Times reports:

Britain, France and Germany urged their European Union partners "to further step up the pressure" on Iran by agreeing new sanctions to undermine its nuclear drive, in a joint letter seen by AFP on Monday.

Foreign ministers of the three nations called on their EU counterparts to quickly agree to punitive action in the areas of energy, finance, trade and transportation, with sanctions set to be formally adopted October 15.

The ministers said they believed previous EU sanctions had "had an enormous effect" - notably a damaging oil embargo that came into force on July 1 - particularly in helping bring Iran back to the negotiating table.

Israel and the U.S. believe Iran seeks a nuclear weapon and threatens Israel's existence. Iran denies the charge. On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took center stage at the U.N. General Assembly, where he chastised the "uncivilized Zionists" over their views on the nuclear matter.

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