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AIPAC And Congressional Hawks Trying To Kill Iran Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and hawks in Congress are reportedly lobbying hard to blow up a deal between the US and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Partnering with hawks in Congress, AIPAC is urging lawmakers to kill the deal and start a new round of sanctions in light of not getting the bombing campaign many had wanted.

The strategy is to sabotage the deal between the Obama Administration and the Iranian government by demanding Congress be the determining body for ceasing sanctions even temporarily. Israel is said to have lost influence with the Obama Administration due to the belligerent stances and actions of the Netanyahu government. In Congress, however, AIPAC still has considerable influence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Iran one of Israel’s greatest threats and said Iran posed a much greater threat to the world than ISIS.

Though AIPAC lobbies for Israeli interests it is not registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and has successfully fought attempts to do so for decades. As recently as 2004 AIPAC supporters feared the organization would have to register after an FBI investigation revealed that Pentagon employee Lawrence Franklin was passing classified information to AIPAC regarding the US policy towards Iran. Registering under FARA would require more transparency from AIPAC making it more difficult to maneuver in DC.

Making matters more difficult for the administration, many lawmakers, egged on by powerful lobbying interests, are convinced that Obama will lift sanctions but fail to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. For that reason, they want to maintain as much control over the talks as possible.

Leading the charge is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying organization that has promoted multiple congressional letters underscoring the legislative branch’s indispensable place at the negotiating table. “We have long supported a strong congressional role,” an AIPAC source said. This intra-governmental friction continues to loom large in matters big and small.

A deal with Iran could not only take economic pressure of one of Israel’s enemies in the region, it could force the Netanyahu government to have to focus on making a peace deal with Palestinians. Iran had previously proved a useful distraction from the Palestinian issue for Prime Minister Netanyahu, at least before Operation Protective Edge.

Whether Prime Minister Netanyahu’s cynical governing strategy is in Israel’s best interest remains to be seen though there is little doubt that getting control over Iran’s nuclear program is in everyone’s long term best interest, even Israel’s.

CommunityThe Bullpen

AIPAC And Congressional Hawks Trying To Kill Iran Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and hawks in Congress are reportedly lobbying hard to blow up a deal between the US and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Partnering with hawks in Congress, AIPAC is urging lawmakers to kill the deal and start a new round of sanctions in light of not getting the bombing campaign many had wanted.

The strategy is to sabotage the deal between the Obama Administration and the Iranian government by demanding Congress be the determining body for ceasing sanctions even temporarily. Israel is said to have lost influence with the Obama Administration due to the belligerent stances and actions of the Netanyahu government. In Congress, however, AIPAC still has considerable influence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Iran one of Israel’s greatest threats and said Iran posed a much greater threat to the world than ISIS.

Though AIPAC lobbies for Israeli interests it is not registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and has successfully fought attempts to do so for decades. As recently as 2004 AIPAC supporters feared the organization would have to register after an FBI investigation revealed that Pentagon employee Lawrence Franklin was passing classified information to AIPAC regarding the US policy towards Iran. Registering under FARA would require more transparency from AIPAC making it more difficult to maneuver in DC.

Making matters more difficult for the administration, many lawmakers, egged on by powerful lobbying interests, are convinced that Obama will lift sanctions but fail to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. For that reason, they want to maintain as much control over the talks as possible.

Leading the charge is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying organization that has promoted multiple congressional letters underscoring the legislative branch’s indispensable place at the negotiating table. “We have long supported a strong congressional role,” an AIPAC source said. This intra-governmental friction continues to loom large in matters big and small.

A deal with Iran could not only take economic pressure of one of Israel’s enemies in the region, it could force the Netanyahu government to have to focus on making a peace deal with Palestinians. Iran had previously proved a useful distraction from the Palestinian issue for Prime Minister Netanyahu, at least before Operation Protective Edge.

Whether Prime Minister Netanyahu’s cynical governing strategy is in Israel’s best interest remains to be seen though there is little doubt that getting control over Iran’s nuclear program is in everyone’s long term best interest, even Israel’s.

Photo by US Department of State under public domain.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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