Jewish Democratic Donors Urge Congress: Back Off Iran Sanctions

Fragile negotiations must be allowed to continue without threats that could derail them, says letter sent to top Democrats.

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Major Democratic donors, many of them Jewish, wrote to party congressional leaders urging them not to advance new Iran sanctions legislation.

“Although success in achieving a final agreement is far from guaranteed, Congress should allow these fragile negotiations to proceed without making threats that could derail them or tying the hands of the negotiators by imposing unrealistic terms for a final agreement,” said the letter sent Feb. 27 to top Democrats in both chambers and reported the same day by National Journal.

The negotiations the letter refers are talks underway between Iran and the major powers aimed at keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Eighty-two donors, many of them Jewish and identified with Democratic and liberal Jewish groups, signed the letter.

These included Morton Halperin, a close associate to George Soros and an adviser to J Street; Alan Solomont, a former ambassador to Spain who also helped found the Israel Policy Forum, a liberal group; and Marc Stanley, who has held leadership positions with the National Jewish Democratic Council.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a number of Democrats and Republicans in Congress back the sanctions, saying they would strengthen the U.S. hand in talks.

President Obama has said he would veto the sanctions, saying they could scuttle the talks with Iran. Democratic leaders in Congress are deferring to his concerns and will not advance the sanctions.

AIPAC has stepped back for now from pressing for the sanctions, and is waiting for a veto-proof majority of members of both parties to endorse the sanctions until it presses for another vote.

Republicans in the Senate on Thursday attempted to attach new sanctions to a veterans benefits law; the Democratic majority quashed the bid, citing among other reasons AIPAC’s opposition to a vote until the sanctions had solid bipartisan backing.

U.S. Congress.Credit: Reuters

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