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June 26, 2008

Members of Congress and NJDC Criticize McCain on Iran Vote

Listed in: Other Foreign Policy, GOP Hypocrisies, NJDC News, Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC –Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO), joined the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) on Capitol Hill today and denounced Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) vote on the amendment (S.Amdt. 1351 to S. 1042) that maintained a loophole to allow companies like Halliburton to continue doing business with Iran.

Leading the charge, Sen. Lautenberg said, "John McCain talks tough on Iran, but when it was time for action, he took a pass. Shutting this loophole is critical if we are serious about sanctions on Iran. Vice President Dick Cheney and the oil companies want to keep the loophole in place so Iran is 'open for business' with U.S. companies. Senator Barack Obama stood up for Israel's security and voted to shut down the loophole."

Sen. Cardin continued the call to make sure that we stay on track. "From South Africa to the Soviet Union, international sanctions have proven an effective tool for changing the behavior of rogue nations.

The sanctions, however, must be strong and enforceable," said Senator Cardin. "Sanctions can be effective against Iran, but we must close the loopholes that have allowed our own U.S. companies to flout the law through their foreign subsidiaries, putting the American people and allies like Israel at risk."

Ira Forman, Executive Director of the NJDC, underscored that "Senator John McCain's allies have made a concerted attempt in this campaign to brand Senator Barack Obama – particularly in the Jewish community – as insufficiently diligent in confronting the threat from Iran. By contrast, he has tried to portray himself as a leader in sanctioning Iran, but we see today that that his action comes up dreadfully short."

"Iran is a serious threat to U.S. and regional security. Our primary leverage with respect to Iran is economic sanctions. Isolating Iran from the world economy puts significant pressure on the regime in Tehran. But to do this, we need the tightest sanctions regime possible. Closing the loophole that allows US businesses to continue doing business with Iran through foreign subsidiaries would greatly strengthen our sanctions' effectiveness, and should be supported by Members on both sides of the aisle. Senator McCain, like President Bush, likes to talk tough about Iran, but voting against closing a loophole that weakens our sanctions against Iran suggests he lacks the determination to fully address the Iranian threat responsibly," said Rep. Levin.

"John McCain thinks that it's okay to help Iran as long as Halliburton gets a piece of the action. Our country can't afford another president who shares the Bush-Cheney loyalty to these special interests," said Rep. Rothman.

"It's critically important the United States and world community take a strong stance against the government of Iran, which requires both economic sanctions and diplomatic engagement. Tough foreign policy doesn't include providing loopholes for companies like Halliburton to continue trading with and investing into dangerous regimes," said Rep.Carnahan.