Middle East/North Africa

Rep. Ellison leads push against Iran sanctions

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim member of Congress, is emerging as a leader in the push to get Congress to back off new sanctions on Iran.

Ellison will host a briefing with two prominent experts on Tuesday amid heavy lobbying by Israel and some pro-Israel groups to buck the administration’s request to give diplomacy more time. Ellison was one of only 20 House members to vote against tough new restrictions on Iran’s energy sector back in July.

{mosads}“With nuclear negotiations with Iran set to resume on November 20, Secretary [of State John] Kerry has indicated that all sides are ‘extremely close’ to a deal that would freeze Iran’s nuclear progress and roll back elements of the program to provide time for negotiations towards a final resolution,” reads Ellison’s invitation to fellow lawmakers. “However, some in Congress argue that such an interim agreement would be a ‘bad deal’ and are calling for new sanctions despite the White House’s warnings that this would derail talks.”

The briefing will feature Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, and Trita Parsi, the Iranian-American president of the National Iranian American Council and a lead advocate of efforts to strike a deal with Iran over its nuclear program. 

The briefing comes as Israel and some pro-Israel groups are ramping up pressure on the Senate to pass sanctions legislation similar to the House effort. President Obama will personally urge senators to hold back at a White House meeting on Tuesday, after repeatedly sending Kerry and Vice President Biden to make that case on Capitol Hill.

Please send tips and comments to Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com

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Tags Iran Iran Israel Keith Ellison
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