CONGRESS PASSES TOUGH, NEW IRAN SANCTIONS; ADDS SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL MISSILE DEFENSE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marshall Wittmann, mwittmann@aipac.org
December 21, 2012

 

CONGRESS PASSES TOUGH, NEW IRAN SANCTIONS; ADDS SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL MISSILE DEFENSE

WASHINGTON — AIPAC applauds Congress for adopting a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act to ratchet up pressure on Iran. New sanctions are urgently needed in the wake of the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report, which shows significant Iranian progress towards a nuclear weapons capability. Iran could soon produce enough 20 percent enriched uranium for a nuclear explosive device in as little as four months.

The original sanctions provision was authored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). The principal leaders on the provision in the House were Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Howard Berman (D-CA). The NDAA provision expands sanctions on the Iranian energy, shipping and shipbuilding sectors, and closes a loophole that has allowed Tehran to circumvent financial sanctions by taking payment for oil and gas in gold.

In the NDAA, Congress rededicates itself to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, stating that “it is the sense of Congress that the United States should be prepared to take all necessary measures, including military action if required, to prevent Iran from threatening the United States, its allies, or Iran’s neighbors with a nuclear weapon.”

AIPAC also applauds Congress for its firm support for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation and in helping Israel to defend itself against the tens of thousands of rockets in the hands of Hamas and Hizballah. Congress provided $211 million for Iron Dome in the NDAA and $267 million for U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense programs like Arrow and David’s Sling. Congress authorized $168 million above the Administration’s FY 13 budget request for these programs. Leaders in this effort included Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Representative Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Representative Adam Smith (D-WA).

AIPAC thanks Congress for its actions to thwart Iran’s nuclear quest and help Israel defend against emerging threats. America must continue to lead these efforts. AIPAC urges immediate implementation of the new sanctions and continued U.S.-Israel cooperation in missile and rocket defense.

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Consistently ranked as the most influential foreign policy lobbying organization on Capitol Hill, AIPAC is a bipartisan American membership organization that seeks to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel. For more than 50 years, AIPAC has been working with Congress to build a strong, vibrant relationship between the U.S. and Israel. With more than 100,000 members across the United States, AIPAC works throughout the country to improve and strengthen that relationship by supporting U.S.-Israel military, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation.