AIPAC will lobby new Congress to sanction Iran during nuclear talks

More pressure, AIPAC leadership believes, "offers the best chance to persuade Tehran to abandon its quest for a nuclear weapons capability."

December 2, 2014 19:47
2 minute read.

Satellite image shows a nuclear facility in Iran. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – Highly critical of an extension in talks with Iran over its nuclear program announced last month, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee announced its intentions to lobby for new sanctions against the Islamic Republic once a new Congress, controlled by Republicans, convenes in the new year.

More pressure, AIPAC leadership believes, “offers the best chance to persuade Tehran to abandon its quest for a nuclear weapons capability,” the large pro-Israel lobby said in a statement on Monday.

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“The Obama Administration should toughen sanctions enforcement, and Congress should quickly take up new bipartisan sanctions legislation,” the statement read. “Without new pressure, Iran is unlikely to modify its course.”

Specifically, the group proposes new restrictions on Iran’s automotive, engineering, manufacturing and, primarily, oil industry, as well as the freezing of all transfers of oil proceeds. Such freezes were partially lifted under an interim deal between the negotiating parties reached last year.

The United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany, known as the P5+1, are negotiating with Iran to cap and roll back its nuclear program, fearing its size and scope indicate the program has a military nature. Iran claims their work and aims with the program are entirely peaceful.

AIPAC said “troubling” concessions on the table from the P5+1 include a lack of dismantlement of Iran’s vast nuclear infrastructure, as well as a sunset clause that would limit the duration of a deal, a deep concern of the Israeli government as first reported by The Jerusalem Post.

“Iran would be able to resume its nuclear program without restrictions,” the statement read, calling reported decade-long duration “insufficient” and an early failure “to meet the standards laid out by an overwhelming majority of Congress.”

Meanwhile, Iran said on Tuesday it has provided evidence to the United Nations atomic agency showing that documents on suspected nuclear bomb research by the country were forged and riddled with errors.

In a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency, it dismissed accusations that it is stonewalling an IAEA investigation into what the UN watchdog calls the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran has offered detailed explanations to the IAEA and there has never been “any authenticated documents for PMD claims,” said the Iranian note posted on the agency’s website.

It said Iranian officials also had given “pieces of evidence” during meetings in October and November indicating that documents shown by the IAEA were fabricated.

They “are full of mistakes and contain fake names with specific pronunciations, which only point toward a certain member of the IAEA as their forger,” it said.

The Iranian statement was in contrast to the IAEA’s assessment in a report last month that said Iran had so far failed to address suspicions it may have worked on designing an atomic bomb.

Western officials say Iran must step up cooperation with the IAEA as part of a broader diplomatic deal with six world powers that would end sanctions on the country if it agrees to curb its nuclear program.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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