Pro-Israel group denies Iran deal with White House

A pro-Israel group on Friday denied a report that it had agreed to refrain from pressing for new Iran sanctions as the White House pursues diplomatic talks.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Friday that a newly formed “quartet” of pro-Israel groups met with White House officials this week and agreed to a 60-day moratorium on publicly pressing Congress for new sanctions following a “contentious” meeting with senior officials.

Members of the quartet reportedly included AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, The Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

A source at an organization present at the meeting told The Hill his group “categorically denies that any commitment was given for any such moratorium.”

The report comes as the White House on Thursday dispatched Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to the Senate to persuade Democratic leaders and members of the Senate Banking Committee to hold off on new sanctions. The administration is concerned that new sanctions could unravel the international support for the sanctions regime.

Members of the banking panel left Thursday's meeting saying they're open to holding off on marking up the new sanctions bill beyond next week, when Iran meets with the United States and five other nations for a new round of talks. The House voted 400-20 in July to slap new sanctions on Iran's energy sector.

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