Cantor vows to raise Iran issues on Middle East trip

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the U.S. House of Representatives majority leader, said he will raise the dangers posed by Iran during a Middle East tour.

The delegation of nine lawmakers — eight Republicans and a Democrat — will head next week to  France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

“I look forward to discussing a wide-range of issues, including the very concerning threat posed to the entire world by Iran’s continuing support for terrorism and its pursuit of nuclear capability,” Cantor said in a statement.

Among the trip participants are top congressional foreign policy decision-makers Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.

Ros-Lehtinen said she would push back against attempts by the Palestinians to achieve statehood recognition in the absence of talks with Israel.

“Responsible nations must stand by Israel, support its right to defend itself, and press the Palestinian leadership to meet its obligations so that a true and lasting peace may be achieved,” she said in a statement. “Support for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, outside of negotiations with Israel, is deeply disturbing and threatens regional peace and stability.”

Other members traveling include: Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.).

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Ron Kampeas is JTA’s Washington bureau chief.

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