House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., waves to the crowd before he speaks at the 2017 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, Monday, March 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Lawmakers back measures to protect Israel by punishing Iran

March 28, 2017 - 3:28 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior U.S. lawmakers are backing bipartisan legislation that would slap Iran with new sanctions while maintaining rigorous enforcement of the landmark nuclear deal.

The measures were unveiled just days before the opening of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference and seek to build consensus among Republicans and Democrats who are so often bitterly at odds on domestic issues.

The AIPAC meeting continues Tuesday with appearances by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

During Monday's session, House Speaker Paul Ryan declared the U.S. commitment to Israel "sacrosanct."

But Ryan also derided the nuclear deal as an "unmitigated disaster" that gives Iran "a patient pathway to a nuclear weapons capability."

He called for expanding sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

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