Why the Iran sanctions fight is a big deal
President Barack Obama delivered a bold and blunt message during his State of the Union address to members of Congress looking to hang new sanctions over Iran’s head: Keep. Out.
It’s a message world leaders and diplomats working with the U.S. to wrangle Iran into relinquishing its nuclear weapons program have echoed.
But none of that is stopping sanctions advocates in the Senate, who will mark up their latest piece of legislation in committee this week, bringing the bill one step closer to action on the Senate floor.
And as negotiators rebooted talks with Iran in Geneva, Sen. Robert Menendez, the lead Democratic sponsor of the sanctions bill, accused the White House of peddling talking points “straight out of Tehran.”
Throw Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit into the mix, a couple veto threats, and you’ve got a bona fide Washington showdown.
Why does this all sound so familiar?
Because it is. Congressional Republicans and a dozen Democrats, bolstered by the powerhouse pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, faced off against the White House and dozens of pro-peace groups last year when they tried passing the a sanctions bill.
The bill earned on-the-record support from 60 senators — just enough to override a filibuster — but the bill never got a vote after the White House issued a veto threat and went on a lobbying spree urging Democrats to oppose it.