WASHINGTON (JTA) — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee opposes further sanctions relief for Iran, citing its ballistic missile tests and its continued backing for sides fighting in the region.
“If Iran wants additional sanctions relief, it must first change its behavior,” the prominent Israel lobby said in an April 7 statement, which was accompanied by statements from members of Congress from both parties opposing additional sanctions relief.
U.S. administration officials reportedly have considered allowing Iran to engage in offshore dollar trading, which would alleviate sanctions on dealing with the United States that remain in place after the Iran nuclear deal.
President Barack Obama, however, said last week that allowing Iran access to dollars is not necessary. Instead, he has said, U.S. officials will endeavor to make it clear to third parties that a range of transactions are now permissible under the Iran nuclear deal.
The Obama administration is concerned that Iranians have yet to feel the effect of the removal of U.S. sanctions, which could reinforce hard-liners in the regime who opposed the sanctions relief for the nuclear rollback deal reached last year between Iran and six major world powers.
AIPAC, joined by some lawmakers from both parties, say that while Iran has observed the letter of the agreement, it has flouted its spirit by testing ballistic missiles, which violates U.N. Security Council resolutions, and by continuing its backing for insurgencies and counterinsurgencies in the region, as well as terrorist groups that target Israel.
In a rare move last week, the lobby blasted as "weak" the sanctions imposed on Iran by the Obama administration in the wake of the missile tests.