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AIPAC on Iran sanctions: Act now

AIPAC leaders, who tend to operate behind the scenes, are going public in a big way — with implied criticism of three presidents. By name.

And just in time for the organization’s annual policy conference, which starts March 21.

Here’s the letter that they have sent to all members of Congress:

March 9, 2010

Dear Congressman XXXX,

We are writing to every member of Congress to express outrage at the U.S. government’s continuing relationship with dozens of companies doing
business with Iran. These ongoing financial dealings undermine longstanding American efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

As the New York Times reported on Sunday, the federal government during the past decade has awarded $107 billion in contracts and grants to more
than 70 companies that are doing business in Iran. More than two-thirds of these contracts have gone to companies involved in Iran’s energy industry despite American law to discourage such involvement.

The time has long since passed this policy to change. Unfortunately, as the Times points out, three successive American administrations have
failed to enforce the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which mandates U.S. sanctions on firms investing more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector. While Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama may have discouraged some investment in Iran through their rhetoric, the United States has sent the American and international business community a contradictory message by failing to enforce the law.

Despite publicly acknowledged investments by several companies of hundreds of millions of dollars in Iran’s energy sector, the U.S. Government has
inexplicably failed to make even one determination of an investment of $20 million during the course of the past decade. Yet, throughout this entire
time, Iran has pursued a nuclear weapons capability, flouting its international obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and presenting the international community with a growing, and now urgent, threat.

As Iran continues to reject U.S.-European engagement efforts and to defy U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring that it halt its illicit uranium enrichment efforts, the United States must take action now.

We call on Congress to:

1.  Investigate why successive administrations have failed to implement
the law by failing to determine what companies have invested in the
Iranian energy sector;

2.   Enact — without delay — the Iran sanctions legislation currently before Congress, which, inter alia, contains provisions barring federal contracts
to companies which are investing in Iran’s energy sector or providing sensitive technology, and their parents or subsidiaries who are engaged in
such activity;

3.  Demand that the U.S. Government enforce existing sanctions law and impose crippling new sanctions on Iran.

In addition to these actions, we hope you will join with us in urging the administration to impose tough new multilateral sanctions with like-minded
states without delay while continuing to pursue the widest possible sanctions through the U.N. Security Council.


David Victor, President

Howard Kohr, Executive Director