Tuesday, June 23, 2009

“Our amendment is a go because AIPAC supports it,”

CQ, here

"A Republican effort on Tuesday to cut off U.S. loans to some companies doing business with Iran will bring Congress deeper into the fray over the U.S. response to the Iranian elections.

The amendment to the draft fiscal 2010 State and foreign operations appropriations bill will give members their first chance to vote on binding Iran policy since that country’s presidential election June 12.

Rep. Mark Steven Kirk , R-Ill., said the amendment was aimed at Reliance Industries, a large energy company based in India that reportedly has provided Iran with as much as a third of its refined petroleum. He will offer the measure when the House Appropriations Committee takes up the draft bill on Tuesday....

Many Republicans have argued that President Obama should offer more support for the protesters and should criticize Iran’s rulers; Democrats have largely stuck by his initial decision to avoid direct criticism to avoid being blamed by the regime for the unrest, although he has more recently criticized the Iranian government as violent and unjust....

Potential Side Effects

Opponents say the language would do little to block gasoline imports and would end up hurting both America’s image in Iran and U.S. companies that would be penalized by the measure. Bechtel Corp. and Dow Global Technologies are involved in the refinery’s construction.

“It struck me as a little strange that we’re going to hamstring American companies in the middle of the worst recession in decades,” said Patrick Disney, legislative director at the National Iranian American Council. ...

He offered another reason to back his plan: “Our amendment is a go because AIPAC supports it,” he said, referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a leading pro-Israel lobby. "

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