WASHINGTON -- American Israel Public Affairs Committee changed course on Thursday, coming out against an immediate Senate vote on new Iran sanctions, according to a statement obtained by The Hill.Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and author of the predominantly Republican-backed sanctions bill, took to the Senate floor Thursday to encourage his colleagues not to let partisan politics drive a vote on the matter. AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, expressed support for Menendez in a statement several hours later:
AIPAC commends Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) for his strong and eloquent statement on the Senate floor today outlining the threat of Iran's nuclear program and the imperative of dismantling it. We appreciate his commitment to ensure that any agreement with Iran “is verifiable, effective, and prevents them from ever developing even one nuclear weapon.”We applaud Senator Menendez’s determined leadership on this issue and his authorship with Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act. We agree with the Chairman that stopping the Iranian nuclear program should rest on bipartisan support and that there should not be a vote at this time on the measure. We remain committed to working with the Administration and the bipartisan leadership in Congress to ensure that the Iran nuclear program is dismantled.