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US Lobby Groups Try to Squash Iran Deal Despite Public Support

By       Message Medea Benjamin       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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A nuclear deal with Iran could be a game changer for US foreign policy and for the Middle East. The P5+1 (the U.S., China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom, plus Germany) and Iran have been developing a comprehensive agreement that would freeze Iran's ability to create a nuclear weapon and start the process of sanctions relief.

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If it succeeds, this deal would dramatically decrease the probability of another costly war in the Middle East and could usher in an historic rapprochement between the US and Iran after 34 years of hostilities. US-Iranian collaboration against extremist groups from ISIL to Al Qaeda could help damp down the fires raging across the Middle East.

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Key US allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, oppose the deal. Both nations harbor long-standing hostilities toward Iran and both want to preserve their preferential relationship with the US. But the American people, frustrated by over a decade of US involvement in Middle East wars, support the initiative. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 6 in 10 Americans support a plan to lift international economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

Democrats back the agreement by an overwhelming majority of five to one, but even a plurality of Republican voters support the Iran nuclear deal. Why, then, will there be such a tough battle in Congress to approve a deal that the Obama administration has worked so hard to achieve and is supported by most Americans?

Some Republicans have a knee-jerk reaction to anything the Obama administration puts forth. And certain Republican and Democrat Congress members fundamentally distrust Iran, believe it is sponsoring militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and think a deal will strengthen Iran to the detriment of Israel.

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But the most compelling reason that so many elected officials will oppose the deal is the power of lobby groups and think tanks, backed by hawkish billionaires who are determined to quash a deal they see as bad for Israel.

Little known to the public, here are some of the groups:

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Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace and author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. 

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