AIPAC Breaks With GOP On Sanctions Against Iran
The largest pro-Israel lobbying group in the United States has broken with the GOP on the issue of using Congressional pressure to force President Obama to increase sanctions against Iran at the same time the U.S. is trying to negotiate a resolution to the issue of Iran’s nuclear program:
America’s main pro-Israel lobby came out against an immediate vote on Iran sanctions Thursday, just hours after 42 Republican senators demanded a vote.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued its statement after the bill’s author, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), took to the Senate floor and obliquely criticized the GOP push.
“We agree with the Chairman that stopping the Iranian nuclear program should rest on bipartisan support,” AIPAC said in an emailed statement, “and that there should not be a vote at this time on the measure.”
An AIPAC official confirmed the email’s validity and said the organization has never pushed for an immediate vote.
“We have not and are not calling for [an] immediate vote,” the official told The Hill.
Menendez did not directly call for a delay in his floor speech, but warned against making his bill, which was co-sponsored by 43 Republicans and 16 Democrats, a “partisan political issue.”
His speech came hours after all but one of the Republican co-sponsors wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) demanding that he schedule a vote before the end of next week. None of the Democrats on the bill are calling for an immediate vote amid heavy pressure from President Obama, who argues that passing it now would doom nuclear talks.
This decision by AIPAC is likely to strengthen Democratic resolve to not give in to GOP pressure to bring the sanctions bill to a vote, meaning that it will effectively die in the Senate.