…by Mike Harris, VT Editor …with Press TV, Tehran
You can listen to the 2:30 minute interview on Press TV here.
An American political commentator and journalist says Democrat Senator Robert Menendez tainted with corruption charges is an asset of Israel lobby in the US Senate.
Israel lobby influences “the United States’ foreign policy by intervention with certain of their assets within the Senate,” Mike Harris, an editor at the Veterans Today, said in an interview with Press TV on Thursday.
He was commenting on a report which says Menendez’s decision to step down as ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the wake of his indictment on corruption charges could jeopardize the Republican-dominated Congress’ chances of approving an anti-Iran bill.
Harris said if you look at the people who are opposed to normalizing relationships with Iran and lifting the sanctions against the Islamic Republic, “you’ll find that among the biggest campaign contributors are usually AIPAC and other assets that Israel lobby dictates and controls.”
“This is a pretty barefaced example of how the Israel lobby manipulates US foreign policy,” he added.
“The US foreign policy ideally is solely the responsibility of the executive branch, that’s why we have the Department of State who reports to the White House about progress,” Harris said.
“But yet we have these senators who have taken it upon themselves at the request of their major donors and their funders to interfere and try to stop what is in the best interest of the American people,” he stated.
“These sanctions on Iran do not benefit anyone. It’s harmful to the Iranian people, it’s harmful to the Iranian economy, and, yes, it’s harmful to the US people and to the US economy because its stifles a great deal of business opportunity that would be beneficial to both countries, Iran and the US,” Harris noted.
On Wednesday, Menendez was indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption and bribery charges for using his influence to illegally benefit a Florida eye doctor.
The indictment forced Menendez to step aside as ranking member on the influential panel that would remove one of the Senate’s most hawkish Democrats from the committee.
Menendez, former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been one of the detractors of President Barack Obama’s administration.
He has co-authored a controversial bill with Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that would prevent President Barack Obama from removing sanctions on Iran until Congress reviews a nuclear deal, and separate legislation that would tighten sanctions on Iran if it walks away from talks.
The Senate panel is scheduled to vote on April 14 on the legislation he co-authored with Corker demanding congressional review of an Iran agreement.
With the anti-Iran Democrat senator not on the panel, the bill is unlikely to gain Democratic support that the Obama administration has already threatened to veto, the Washington-based newspaper The Hill reported on Thursday.
After Menendez, the next most senior Democrat on the influential panel is Senator Barbara Boxer, who is an ally of the president and opposes passing any anti-Iran legislation before the final July 1 deadline in the talks, the newspaper report said.