AIPAC lobbies for Iran sanctions


About 100 top AIPAC activists lobbied Congress to pass Iran sanctions bills.

The executive committee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s met this week in Washington.

AIPAC staff told the executive committee that a comprehensive bill that would expand existing sanctions against Iran and restrict the president’s ability to waive them was likely to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives by October, but that the Senate version was not likely to be heard soon.

The committee lobbied Tuesday on Capitol Hill for both versions of the bill, as well as for a bill that would assist states and groups seeking to sanction Iran. That bill has passed in the House, but the U.S. Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), a presidential candidate, has been held up by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), an ally of the Bush administration in its efforts to maintain an exclusive foreign policy prerogative.

The AIPAC activists also lobbied for passage of the Bush administration’s agreement to increase military assistance to Israel to $3 billion annually from $2.4 billion.

Prior to lobbying on Tuesday, the executive committee was given a “pep talk” by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the House majority leader, and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), its minority deputy whip, who recently returned from leading congressional delegations to Israel.

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