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UANI in the News

Aug 17 2014

"'All the five-star hotels are full of Western companies looking to position themselves to do business -- and also Japanese and Chinese companies,' says Sarosh Zaiwalla, a London-based lawyer who specializes in sanctions regulation and who travels frequently to Tehran. Iran has seen a huge surge in the number of Western business delegations, says Amir Cyrus Razzaghi, the head of Ara Enterprise Group, a consulting firm in Tehran that provides market research and business intelligence to clients... Iran -- one of the world's largest closed markets -- may be on the verge of opening for business after years of isolation, says Charles Robertson, chief economist at Renaissance Capital Ltd., a London-based investment firm... Businesses also need to be wary of U.S. political pitfalls and public opinion, says Henry Smith, a Dubai-based senior consultant and Iran analyst at Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd., a consulting firm... Then there's United Against Nuclear Iran, a New York-based group that pressures companies to cease doing business with Iran. 'This is a regime that sponsors terrorism and supports entities that maim and kill U.S. troops around the world,' says David Ibsen, executive director of UANI."

Jul 20 2014
New York Times
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"Behind President Obama’s decision on Friday to extend the Iran nuclear negotiations for four more months is a calculation that the administration has the mix of pressure and incentives just about right: That by keeping the most damaging sanctions, but giving Tehran a taste of what access to its overseas cash reserves might mean, a deal is possible. Congress, and some nuclear experts pushing for a harder line, strongly disagree. It was overwhelming sanctions, and the pressure of covert action against Iran’s nuclear program, that brought the country to the table, they argue. To get a final deal, they contend, the formula is simple: More sanctions, more pressure, and behind it all the lurking threat of military action... Mr. Zarif, in an interview, argued that the sanctions Congress is so proud of have been counterproductive. Before they began in earnest, he said, Iran had 200 centrifuges installed in its facilities; now it has 22,000. More pressure, he contended, will only drive Iran’s leadership to more defiance. Some in the Obama administration agree, saying there is a 'sweet spot' in sanctions where the continuing, gnawing pressure of oil, gas and financial sanctions, which they vowed Friday night to continue, would take their toll, and the prospect of relief would create political pressure in Tehran for a deal. But Gary Samore, President Obama’s former top adviser on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, took a harder line on Friday night. Now the president of United Against Nuclear Iran, an advocacy group, Mr. Samore and the organization’s chief executive, Mark D. Wallace, argued that to get the leverage the administration needs it must 'make clear that Iran remains closed for business and that the uncertainty surrounding these nuclear negotiations makes the business climate in Iran far too risky' for Western capital to re-enter. And, they contended, the negotiating partners should go farther and 'agree on decisive sanctions that would constitute a virtual economic blockade of Iran should Iran fail to agree to an acceptable deal' in the next four months."

Jul 17 2014
New York Times
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"In fact, many of those who have studied Iran’s nuclear program most closely over the years say that if Iran ever decided to build a weapon, it would not be foolish enough to obtain the fuel from well-known facilities that are crawling with international nuclear inspectors. 'They would find another way,' said Gary Samore, who was Mr. Obama’s top adviser for countering unconventional weapons during the first term, and now is president of an advocacy group called United Against Nuclear Iran. But Mr. Samore quickly added that 'a deal must be measured on some objective criteria,' and that in this case 'breakout time is what is going to be used to measure this one.'"

Jul 16 2014
New York Times
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"After three days of intensive talks with his Iranian counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that 'tangible progress' had been made in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, and that he would return to Washington to consult with President Obama over whether to extend a Sunday deadline for a final agreement. Mr. Kerry said that 'very real gaps' remained, but his tone - and his acknowledgment that Iran had complied with all of its commitments under a temporary agreement that took effect in January - left little doubt he wanted to extend the talks by weeks or months. 'That's where we're headed, I think,' one of his top advisers said. At his own news conference, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, embraced the idea of extending talks beyond the deadline. 'As we stand now, we have made enough headway to be able to tell our political bosses that this is a process worth continuing,' he said. 'This is my recommendation. I am sure Secretary Kerry will make the same recommendation.' ... Mr. Kerry declined to comment on the proposal that Mr. Zarif outlined in an interview with The New York Times for what would amount to an extension of the current short-term agreement for a number of years. Gary Samore, a former senior official on the staff of Mr. Obama's National Security Council, and president of an advocacy group called United Against Nuclear Iran, said that Mr. Zarif's proposal was 'not enough for a deal but enough for an extension of the negotiations.' Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear monitor, said in an interview that Mr. Zarif's proposal would not add to the time Iran would need to break out of an accord and produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. 'What Zarif suggests is actually to maintain a status quo,' Mr. Heinonen said. 'Thus I do not see that this proposal opens any avenues for a deal.'"
Jul 10 2014
Al Hayat
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"Dr. Gary Samore, former adviser to President Obama on weapons of mass destruction, said in a telephone interview organized by the Clarion Project with diplomats and journalists, 'Both sides are very constrained by domestic politics. President Obama can't sell a nuclear deal to Congress if it allows Iran to retain a credible nuclear weapons option, and President (Hassan) Rohani cannot sell a nuclear deal to Supreme Leader Khamenei if it requires Iran to give up its nuclear weapons option.' Samore is strongly opposed to Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. He is the president of United Against Nuclear Iran and the executive director for research at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Samore expects that in the event a final deal is not reached, the interim agreement would be extended and renewed for another six months, as this would serve the interests of both sides: Iran would get more gradual sanction relief without abandoning its nuclear program, while the United States (and its allies) would succeed in continuing to freeze the most important part of Iran's nuclear program."

Jul 10 2014
Associated Press
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"Big-power foreign ministers are joining Iran nuclear talks on a diplomatic rescue mission. But even their muscle is seen as unlikely to bridge differences on Tehran's atomic activities in time to meet the July 20 target date for a deal. 'Obviously both sides have set out positions that are irreconcilable,' says Gary Samore, who left the U.S. team negotiating with Iran last year. 'That's why this negotiation is not going to end in agreement.' ... But Samore, who is now with Harvard's Belfer Center, thinks the sides may agree to the full six months, saying 'there is no reason to believe that the fundamental disagreement ... can be resolved any time soon.'"
Jun 15 2014

"UANI, United Against Nuclear Iran, a watchdog led by Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, said that 'Rouhani pledged to follow a path of moderation in both domestic and foreign policy affairs' in his campaign, but after his first year in office, 'it is clear that Rouhani has not matched his words with substantive reform or change.' 'In fact, the regime's policies remain largely unchanged from the days of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency,' UANI said. 'For example, the nuclear program continues to advance, Iran's military intervention to uphold the Assad regime in Syria goes on unabated, and the human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated with a new wave of repression and executions.' Although tagged as a 'reformist' and 'moderate,' over the past year, Rouhani has been more correctly described as the 'ultimate regime insider,' who 'has never been out of power or [Supreme Leader Ayatollah] Khamenei's good graces,' UANI said, citing news sources."

Jun 13 2014
Associated Press
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"Gov. Nikki Haley has signed into law a bill that prohibits South Carolina from investing funds or contracting with international companies that have invested at least $20 million in Iran's energy sectors. According to the watchdog group United Against Nuclear Iran, South Carolina joins 29 other states that already have divestment laws against Iran since President Barack Obama signed legislation in 2010 allowing states to enact their own individual sanctions. But it said the measure signed Monday would be the first by a state to implement sanctions since an interim deal was struck in January between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., which lifted some sanctions that are crippling Iran's economy."
Jun 02 2014

UANI President Gary Samore: "In exchange for Iran’s nuclear constraints, the United States and the European Union have eased some trade sanctions and released some frozen funds from Iran’s oil exports. But the overall sanctions regime has remained intact, mainly because U.S. and European officials have actively warned companies and other governments not to take actions that would erode sanctions. To reinforce the message, Washington has continued to impose sanctions against companies that have violated the existing sanctions even while the interim agreement is in effect. Private organizations like United Against Nuclear Iran (of which I am president) have also helped by calling on specific Western companies not to engage in business with Iran that violates existing sanctions."

May 28 2014
American Interest
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UANI President Gary Samore (GS) Interviewed by Adam Garfinkle (AG):

AG: Tell us a bit about the organization you preside over, United Against a Nuclear Iran, or UANI.

GS: It existed before I became its president. The reason I was attracted to it is that they do an excellent job of supplementing government efforts to impose sanctions. And I think that without sanctions we’re never going to get a nuclear deal.

AG: Who set the organization up, and about when?

GS: It started during the first Obama Administration, and was set up for the purpose of trying to enforce sanctions through new means. Mark Wallace is the chief operating officer, and he was one of Bush’s Ambassadors to the United Nations. This is one of the ways President Obama managed to overcome our differences with the allies to build a better sanctions regime, and do it, of course, without ever taking the military option off the table.