WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will both address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee during their headline policy conference next week.
“The two influential cabinet secretaries are leading the administration’s efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” AIPAC said in a statement. “Secretary Kerry is also leading the United States’ effort to achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
Kerry is expected to defend the administration’s diplomatic push with Iran, after blunting an aggressive effort by AIPAC to push a new sanctions package against Iran through the Senate throughout the fall.
The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 would have triggered new sanctions tools against Iran should negotiations fail to produce a comprehensive deal on its nuclear program within a year.
While the bill had 59 cosponsors across party lines, US President Barack Obama threatened to veto it if passed, warning that it could sabotage efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the crisis. At risk of the bill becoming a partisan one, AIPAC retreated on it earlier this month.
Kerry is also expected to pitch his peace push between Israel and the Palestinians, supported nominally by AIPAC, but not with the enthusiasm of other groups, such as J Street. His speech will come weeks before a self-imposed deadline on the peace talks, and nine months after they began last July.
Lew’s speech will likely focus on sanctions against the Islamic Republic, which are enforced by the Treasury Department. He and the White House have repeatedly said that despite the $7 billion in sanctions relief doled out in increments as part of an interim nuclear deal, Iran is “not open for business.”