More than 40 US lawmakers are scheduled to travel to Israel next month to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before they vote in Congress on the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Congress has until September 17 to review and vote either to reject or approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached between Iran, the US and the five world powers on July 14 in the Austrian capital of Vienna.
According to the text of the agreement, Iran will be recognized by the United Nations as a nuclear power and will continue its uranium enrichment program.
The trip to Israel –one with Democrats, the other with Republicans– which occurs every two years, are organized and funded by the American Israel Education Foundation.
The foundation is an educational nonprofit affiliated with the Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The AIPAC-linked foundation has spent more than $9.4 million on congressional travels during the past 14 years.
House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer will take part in the Democratic trip, which kicks off on August 3. The Republicans’ visit will begin on August 8.
“We’ll meet with Mr. Netanyahu, [and] I’m sure he will repeat his very deep concerns and the dangers he believes that the deal presents to Israel,” Hoyer told the Hill. “We will speak to people in Israel who do not share his view.”
Netanyahu is expected to make his case directly to lawmakers.
The lawmakers will also meet with other high-ranking officials, as well as US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.
Most Republicans oppose the nuclear agreement with Iran, but they need a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress to override a presidential veto and to reach that threshold, Republicans need Democrats’ support.
In remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that if Congress rejects the Iran agreement, the world would hold Israel responsible because of its extensive campaign against it.
US President Barack Obama has also vowed to veto any congressional resolution seeking to reject the agreement.