March 23, 2010
Reassured by Clinton, L.A.’s AIPAC Attendees Remain Nervous About Iran
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On Tuesday — traditionally the conference’s concluding day, when AIPAC members visit Capitol Hill to lobby their legislators — Los Angeles attendees were scheduled to gather en masse in the House of Representatives foreign affairs committee hearing room to meet Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys), Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles), Jane Harman (D-Venice) and Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena). Earlier that morning, Senator Barbara Boxer was to address the group at the convention center.
In a session Monday that dealt with imposing sanctions on Iran, Sherman, a foreign affairs committee member, noted that all 10 of his addresses to AIPAC policy conferences have been on Iran.
Because time appears to be short for enacting sanctions to deter Teheran from completing development of nuclear weapons, the United States “now needs to put the pedal to the metal” rather than continue driving at five miles per hour, Sherman said. He urged AIPAC members to lobby for a sanctions bill “without any weakening” or “adulteration.”
In the conference’s kosher cafeteria, two Teheran natives also underscored the urgency of addressing the Iranian nuclear threat.
“We are playing a game of time. If we can delay the bomb enough, the regime will fall,” said Saeed Hekmat-Niaz, an Encino real estate appraiser who was attending his fourth policy conference.
Hekmat-Niaz said that he was inspired moments earlier to have bumped into an Austrian activist from Stop the Bomb, a European organization seeking to prevent a nuclear Iran.
Frank Mesriani, a Woodland Hills delicatessen owner, was enjoying the “very positive energy” he felt at his first AIPAC conference.
“We came to support Israel and to give the message that time is running out for dealing with the Iran crisis,” said Mesriani, who came in Sinai Temple’s delegation. “It’s very unsafe for the whole world. Iran could sell the weapons to the Palestinians and to terrorist organizations, and it would affect the United States.”
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