Did Israel lobby bribe US Senator to sabotage Iran deal?
United States Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) received a $960,250 donation from a pro-Israel advocacy group, then spearheaded the signing of an open letter written in opposition of the Iran deal. The payoff has raised allegations that the senator was bribed to sabotage the deal.
The Senator received the money as a campaign donation from the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), a right-wing advocacy group which has actively opposed the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama administration spearheaded.
A statement from the group on the deal in early April 2014 said: “The Emergency Committee for Israel expects that every member of Congress will do his duty and act to kill this proposed deal.”
After receiving nearly $1 million from the ECI, Senator Cotton spearheaded the endorsement of a letter, signed by 47 Republican senators, to the Iranian government. The letter warned against any agreement, saying that Congress could dismantle a deal once President Obama leaves office.
Despite pro-Israel lobbyists best efforts, last July, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed by Iran and the U.S. along with the UK, Russia, China, France, and Germany. By the terms of the deal, Iran will reduce its number of uranium-enriching centrifuges and only enrich uranium to a certain level, below weapons grade, for 15 years.
The donation to Senator Cotton was not Israel’s only attempt to avert the deal. U.S. intelligence has revealed that Israel spied on the negotiations, leaked details to undermine them, and aggressively lobbied U.S. Senators directly.
According to U.S. intelligence officials Israeli lobbyists even asked senators questions like, “How can we get your vote? What’s it going to take?”
Senator Cotton and the Emergency Committee for Israel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.