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Jewish groups push Dems to avoid helping Obama admin water down Iran sanctions

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Jewish groups are urging their supporters to inundate the telephone lines of two key Democrats in an a bid to stop the lawmakers from weakening an Iran sanctions bill currently being considered by Congress.

The Republican Jewish Coalition and NORPAC, a non-partisan pro-Israel outfit based in New Jersey, have both independently urged their supporters to call the offices of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) in a bid to prevent them from helping the Obama administration water down the provision.

As I first reported, the Obama administration has been working behind the scenes to weaken the Kirk-Menendez Iran sanctions amendment. The measure would impose crippling sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran by forcing foreign companies and countries to choose between doing business with Iran and doing business with America.

The administration opposes the amendment as written because it believes the measure would send oil prices soaring, thereby bolstering the Iranian regime.

As the RJC put it in an e-mail blast this mornining: Levin and Smith are "carrying the administration’s agenda in the conference."

NORPAC told its supporters: "The Obama Administration has asked two Democrats in the Committee to make the legislation weaker: Senator Carl Levin from Michigan, the Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee, and Representative Adam Smith, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. They have both been specifically working on weaker sanctions."

I asked both lawmakers to comment on the sanctions and Jewish efforts to persuade them against helping the administration.

Levin’s office declines to comment, stating that the senator doesn’t comment on discussion taking place in conference committee (where the House and Senate are trying to agree on the amendment’s final language).

Smith’s office did not respond at all.

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