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article imageOp-Ed: Former president of anti-Iran nuclear program group supports deal

By Ken Hanly     Aug 11, 2015 in Politics
Washington - Dr. Gary Samore, president of United Against Nuclear Iran(UANI), a lobby and education group whose aim is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, has resigned as he now supports the deal.
The UANI describes itself as: "..a non-profit, non-partisan education and advocacy group aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. An outspoken and tireless advocate for implementation of a robust sanctions regime against Iran, UANI has been at the vanguard of efforts to ensure that any U.S. agreement with Iran is solidly in the national security interests of the United States and precludes Tehran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons. " Dr. Samor believed the UANI should support the new deal but take on the role of monitoring its implementation to ensure Iran is in compliance with its terms.
This position was obviously not acceptable to the group and sponsors such as Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire funder of the organization. Adelson insists the U.S. should get tougher on Iran. At one time he said: "You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say 'OK, let it go' and so there’s an atomic weapon goes over, ballistic missiles in the middle of the desert that doesn’t hurt a soul, maybe a couple of rattlesnakes and scorpions or whatever." This is all meant to show the U.S. is serious about Iran not producing nuclear weapons. He suggested the US even threaten to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran.
To replace Dr. Samore, the UANI has appointed former US Senator Joseph Lieberman to serve as chair of the group. Lieberman is expected to play a key role in pointing out the shortcomings in the deal with Iran. Lieberman has long been an avid supporter of Israel and also was one of the signatories to a letter to the Obama administration outlining weaknesses in an earlier version of the nuclear deal with Iran. UANI CEO, Mark Wallace, said: "Senator Lieberman's foreign policy and national security expertise is highly respected and renowned around the world. We could have no better leader as the American people consider this flawed Iran agreement." Wallace was ambassador to the UN under the G.W. Bush administration.
Samore will remain as part of the UANI advisory board. Wallace praised his earlier work for the UANI and claimed that he still remained a friend of the group: "We thank Gary for his commitment, service, and leadership, both during his tenure at UANI and as President Obama's Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Gary has been one of the premier experts skeptical of Iran's willingness to forgo a nuclear weapons capability, and his analysis has advanced the discourse on the challenge of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran." Wallace noted however that Dr. Samore supported the new agreement.
Dr. Samore was equally gracious given the situation: "I am proud to have been a part of UANI from its inception and the essential work UANI has done on the Iran nuclear issue, particularly in the area of sanctions and economic pressure. In these partisan times, UANI has been a bipartisan and thoughtful voice on these issues. If the nuclear agreement goes forward--as I believe it should--UANI will continue to play a critical role monitoring implementation and helping to maintain non-nuclear sanctions until Iran changes its behavior in these other areas." The UANI will go forward with continuing criticism of the deal under leadership that appears to be more aligned with hard line rejection of the agreement more in keeping with the Israeli position on the issue.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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