AIPAC Pushing for New Iran Sanctions Bill?
28 Apr 09 | PTV
Influential Israeli lobby group in the US, AIPAC is to push for a newly crafted resolution designed to choke off Iranian gas imports.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which is scheduled to hold its annual conference next week, said the introduction of a new bill against Iran’s gasoline trade on Tuesday is no coincidence.
“It’s no coincidence that the bills, which are strongly backed by AIPAC, are “dropping” into Congress for consideration this week, having 6,000 conference-goers press for their passage next Tuesday is bound to give them a turbo boost,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) said on Monday.
The agency, which serves Jewish newspapers and media around the world, said on Sunday that “thousands of AIPAC lobbyists” would “tumble out of buses to make sure” the bill passes.
One week after American lawmakers in the US House of Representatives introduced the ‘Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act’, a bipartisan slate of US senators on Tuesday tabled a similar bill, seeking to put an end to Iran’s low-level nuclear activities by targeting the country’s gasoline trade.
The bill, which is slated to be introduced by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) — an uber-Israel supporter — advocates the imposition of tough sanctions against countries that sell refined petroleum, including gasoline, to Iran.
The conference, which will see Israel’s ceremonial president, Shimon Peres representing Tel Aviv, excludes those opposed to such measures against Iran.
“Policy theorists in Washington who reject isolating Iran as counterproductive are absent from the conference schedule,” the report added.
Branded as “ the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel” by the New York Times, AIPAC has been criticized for its “distorted American foreign policy in favor of Israel.”
AIPAC is a “de facto agent for a foreign government”, whose “success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it,” University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt from the Harvard University argue in their book: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.
Former President Jimmy Carter has also accused AIPAC of putting enormous pressure on politicians running for office who do not share AIPAC’s goals.
In 1992, the group’s then president David Steiner was forced to resign after he was recorded boasting about his political influence in obtaining aid for Israel.
Steiner claimed to be “negotiating” with the incoming Clinton administration over who Clinton would appoint as Secretary of State and Director of the National Security Agency
AIPAC members have also been linked to espionage cases, involving their role in gathering and disclosing classified national security information to Israel.
In 2005, AIPAC policy director Steven Rosen and AIPAC senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman were indicted for passing along secret US documents to Israel in violation of the 1917 Espionage Act.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran is ready to hold talks with the West as long as there are no preconditions and will support any decision the Palestinians make on their future.
He made the remarks in an interview conducted by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos earlier this week in Tehran that was broadcast by the US network on April 27.
Transcript of the interview >>>
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has declared that influential Israeli lobby groups are preventing any change from occurring in the US.
“Israeli lobby groups’ influence over decision-making bodies in the US will not allow any real change to be made in US foreign policy,” Larijani said in a meeting with a Washington Friday prayers leader, Faisal Rauf, in Tehran on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Larijani called the Palestinian crisis one of the most sensitive issues of the Muslim world and said a just solution must be found, the Mehr News Agency reported.
Larijani highlighted Iran’s commitment to fight against terrorism and noted that some wrong policies adopted by the US and other Western countries have actually increased terrorism.
Rauf hailed Iran’s efforts to inform the world about the Palestinian people’s hardships.
He also said the US political structure is dominated by Israeli lobby groups.
Supporters of Israel easily shape the decisions of the US Congress and in some cases have managed to force it to adopt policies against US national interests, he added.