WASHINGTON — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said there would be “no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts” to seek new sanctions on Iran.
The statement late Saturday came after days of reports that top pro-Israel groups, including AIPAC, had agreed in a meeting with senior White House staffers to suspend for 80 days lobbying for increased sanctions on Iran.
“AIPAC continues to support congressional action to adopt legislation to further strengthen sanctions and there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts,” said the statement by AIPAC President Michael Kassen.
Obama administration officials have said that passing intensified sanctions would be counterproductive while renewed negotiations are underway with Iran aimed at making its nuclear program more transparent and ensuring that Iran is not working to make a bomb.
Top officials have met with senators in recent days to ask them not to advance intensified sanctions passed over the summer by the US House of Representatives.
Congressional proponents of the sanctions, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have said that sanctions forced Iran to the negotiating table and should be upheld to extract meaningful concessions.
That outlook was echoed in the statement by AIPAC’s Kassen.
“AIPAC supports diplomatic efforts to achieve an end to Iran’s nuclear program,” Kassen said.
“Diplomatic talks have been made possible because of the strong sanctions passed by Congress and implemented by the administration,” he said. “Until Iran suspends its enrichment program, additional sanctions are vital for diplomacy to succeed.