With the June 30 deadline for the Iran nuclear deal just days away, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), an organization bankrolled in large part by Republican super-hawk Sheldon Adelson, is stepping up in its typical role of spoiler, launching a new media campaign aimed at killed the pact.
UANI and its cohorts center the ads on dubiously-worded allegations of Iranian nuclear plots, and spurious claims of Iran “single-handedly” killing thousands of US ground troops during the Iraq occupation. The group’s latest campaign features demands more or less entirely in line with comments from hawkish Republican Senators in recent days, which are meant to be directly contrary to what Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says he expects out of an acceptable deal.
The broader point of the UANI campaign, despite its “get tough with Iran” facade, is to prevent a deal entirely. Adelson, the casino-magnate whose foundation funds the group, has repeatedly called for the US to unilaterally attack Iran, and at times has even demanded a preemptive US nuclear strike on Iran, nominally to show them how serious the US is.
Indeed, UANI predates the Iran nuclear talks, and before it started being another lobby against the nuclear deal, it was haranguing major corporations into signing a pledge to never do any business with Iran under any circumstances. The group had mixed success with this, getting some companies to cave pretty quickly, but also facing some major lawsuits for making up claims that companies who didn’t go along were helping Iran make nuclear weapons.
With Adelson’s backing, UANI has nigh-endless resources for this campaign, and also can expect the support of most of the Republican Congress, which is also eager to get on Adelson’s good side for the sake of juicy campaign contributions. For the ads to successfully derail the deal, however, they will need to scare enough voters in Democrat districts to get them to provide Congress a veto-proof mandate to kill the nuclear deal.
Sen. John McCain (R – AZ), who addressed this yesterday, was optimistic about their chances, saying Democrats in “pro-Israel” districts would be the easiest to get on board. That they’ve been predicting an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon for literally over 30 years now, however, has likely inoculated many Americans to the narrative that this is an actual threat.