Ilhan Omar Signs AIPAC Letter to Prolong Iran Sanctions: Report
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A once-fierce critic of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), US Rep. Ilhan Omar took her supporters by surprise when it was revealed that she signed the Israeli lobby’s letter calling on Washington to renew sanctions on Iran.
The Israeli lobby group AIPAC is known for being the main architect of US policies throughout the Middle East, and has been criticized repeatedly for wielding disproportionate influence on US policies in the region.
What is particularly surprising in Omar’s signature of the letter, which was also signed by 391 House members, is that Omar herself has repeatedly locked horns with AIPAC in the past, The Palestine Chronicle reported on Tuesday.
Equally interesting is that Omar chose to part ways with other progressive members of Congress. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley reportedly did not sign the letter.
The letter, sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Republican Mike McCaul, calls on hawkish US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to "extend these provisions in order to prevent Iran from buying and selling weapons."
The first to reveal Omar’s decision was Al-Monitor on May 4, a report that immediately reverberated throughout Israeli media.
"No explanation by Omar’s office could possibly suffice, or morally justify this shameful decision," Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud said.
"Omar’s deserved credibility was predicated on her ability to introduce morality and common sense to American politics and to present a new political discourse on foreign policy with courage and articulation," Baroud added.
On March 14, Omar called on the White House to suspend sanctions against Iran as the country struggles to deal with the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
"We need to suspend these sanctions before more lives are lost," she said via Twitter.
It is unclear whether Omar’s succumbing to the wishes of AIPAC will further compromise her position on US policies towards Iran and other foreign policy issues.