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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Cardin’

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks Letter

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks LetteTwenty-three Democratic senators signed a letter to President Obama on the Iran nuclear talks that was cast in less strident terms than a separate letter sent last week.

“As negotiations progress, we expect your administration will continue to keep Congress regularly apprised of the details,” said the letter, spearheaded by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Levin’s letter sent March 22 is a word for word replica of a letter sent last week by an overwhelming number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, initiated by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House minority whip.

Levin had circulated the Cantor-Hoyer letter, saying he preferred it to another letter initiated by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The Menendez-Graham letter, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, garnered signatures from 83 senators of both parties, out of the body’s 100 members, and was sent last week.

Levin did not explain why he preferred the Cantor-Hoyer language in his cover letter seeking signatories, but that letter was considerably softer in tone than the Menendez-Graham letter.

The Menendez-Graham letter more definitively described outcomes of the Iran negotiations that “must” be in place while the Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters instead were “hopeful” of such outcomes. The Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters were also closer to the position of the Obama administration, explicitly saying that its signatories “do not seek to deny Iran a peaceful nuclear program.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of Republicans in Congress say that any deal must end uranium enrichment altogether; Obama administration officials have said that a limited degree of enrichment is the likely outcome of any deal.

The Menendez-Graham letter does not explicitly count out an enrichment capability for Iran, nor does it mention it.

The Senate letter suggests that the body could soon reconsider new sanctions on Iran, a bid also backed by AIPAC that the Obama administration deflected earlier this year.

Of the Levin letter’s 23 signatories, 19 also signed the Menendez-Graham letter, and four were Jewish: Levin, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). AIPAC backed the Cantor-Hoyer letter in the House, but did not back Levin’s version in the Senate.

Senate Urges State Dept. to Renegotiate Terms for Iraqi Jewish Archive

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

The Senate unanimously urged the State Department to renegotiate the terms for the return to Iraq of an archive of Iraqi Jewish texts.

The resolution passed Thursday “strongly urges” the department to renegotiate the agreement with the Iraqi government “in order to ensure that the Iraqi Jewish Archive be kept in a place where its long-term preservation and care can be guaranteed.”

The nonbinding resolution also “recognizes that the Iraqi Jewish Archive should be housed in a location that is accessible to scholars and to Iraqi Jews and their descendants who have a personal interest in it.”

The resolution was initiated by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.).

U.S. troops uncovered the archive in the Iraqi secret service headquarters in Baghdad in 2003, much of it waterlogged.

Iraqi agents under Saddam Hussein had looted many of the articles after the dictator had driven the remnants of the Jewish community out of the country in a terror campaign.

Under an agreement with the Coalition Provisional Authority that had governed Iraq, the materials were sent to the United States where experts, led by a National Archives team, restored them.

Iraqi Jews in Israel, the United States, Britain and elsewhere oppose its return to Iraq under the agreement, saying the government now in place is not sympathetic to Jewish interests and would not make it available.

The archive, now on display at the National Archives in Washington D.C., is due to be returned in June.

Jewish groups, including the Orthodox Union, the World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, praised the Senate for passing the resolution.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/senate-urges-state-dept-to-renegotiate-terms-for-iraqi-jewish-archive/2014/02/09/

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