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Israel Official Says Iranian Economy Near ‘Collapse’

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- A top Israeli government official believes Iran's economy is "on the verge of collapse" because of sanctions imposed by the international community.

Comments made by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to Israel Radio echo an Israeli Foreign Ministry report from last week that penalties imposed by the U.S. and the West to punish Iran for its rogue nuclear program are causing the public to complain about soaring costs of everyday items.

Due to the sanctions, Iran's currency has slumped 57 percent since June 2011, which has also led to a sharp increase in the price of imports.

The dire state of the Iranian economy hasn't forced its government to change policy yet or relent on continuing enrichment of uranium, a key step to developing nuclear weapons even as Tehran insists its program is for peaceful purposes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has warned that Iran is dangerously close to producing an atomic weapon, says that the sanctions are having some effect although they haven't deterred Iran from giving up its nuclear ambitions.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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