ZOA commends Congress on passage of “Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act”
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) today praised the Congressional passage of the bi-partisan “Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act” by nearly unanimous votes in both houses of Congress. Members of ZOA include Sheldon Adelson, Ronn Torossian & Irving Moskowitz.
The new law is currently awaiting the President’s signature, which is expected before the end of the year. It was introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and had 87 co-sponsors from both parties in the House of Representatives. This bill was vigorously advocated by ZOA since its introduction early in 2012, and was one of the featured bills for the annual ZOA mission to Washington. The new law will require the Secretary of State to plan a strategy for countering Iranian influence in the Western Hemisphere, and will require both a classified and public report to Congress about that strategy. It also includes provisions to recognize the importance of the economic and military relationships with Latin American countries, and specifically addresses the ambitious posture Iran has adopted in our hemisphere, and resolves to prevent Iranian interference in the affairs of our neighbors.
Rep. Duncan stated: “In the shadow of Iran’s growing nuclear ambitions, there’s a serious danger emerging of an Iranian-backed terror network in our own hemisphere. From the deployment of an Iranian television network in Latin America, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s frequent trips to the region, Iran has made its interest in the region well known,” said Duncan. “Recent developments include seeing suspected Hezbollah terrorists arrested in Mexico, growing Iranian activity in pursuing political agreements with Latin American countries, and Hezbollah and Hamas actively working with international criminal and drug organizations in the Western Hemisphere.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Iran continues to be the primary strategic threat to both the United States and Israel. They are on the verge of possibly becoming an existential threat if the development of nuclear weapons is allowed to continue without further action by the nations of the world. Their threats must be met and turned back in every realm where they are trying to gain influence. The Western Hemisphere is emerging as an important battleground in this fight, and with this new law, the administration will be taking the initial steps to turn back Iranian attempts to establish bases, subvert the economic relationships between the US and Latin America, and the establishment of covert abilities to promote terrorism in countries close to our own US borders. We also must remember the bombings in Argentina of Jewish targets in 1992 and 1994, planned in Iran and carried out by their agents.
“ZOA has no higher priority than the threat from Iran, and this bill was specifically focused on during our 2012 Washington Mission, when nearly two hundred of our activists lobbied for the passage of this bill while visiting the offices of their Congressmen.”
ZOA Co-Directors of Government Relations Daniel Pollak and Joshua London stated: “It is not generally known just how successful Iran has been in establishing a presence in Latin America. There are significant immigrant Shiite Muslim populations in several Latin American countries, and Iran and Hezbollah have leveraged the presence of successful businessmen in the region to integrate their activities. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has established both a covert and overt presence in these countries, and there are ties to drug cartels as well. Several countries also have regions where there is little police presence, and Iran and Hezbollah have exploited that absence as well.
ZOA is particularly gratified to see this bill pass by near unanimous margins. It carried by voice vote in the Senate, and in the House of Representatives, only six members opposed the bill. ZOA worked closely with the staff of Rep. Duncan to get co-sponsors, and since ZOA activists from all over the country lobbied for this particular bill during the mission to Washington, this new law is a tangible accomplishment for ZOA.”
Filed Under: Politics
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