United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI), an organization packed to the gills with a bipartisan who’s who of hawkish figures, held an event on the “Future of Iran Policy” in Washington DC. Unsurprising, given the list of attendees, the future they envision is war, and lots of it.
The event headlined by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL) and former Sen. Joe Lieberman saw calls to “restore coercion” against Iran, with several figures advocating that the US accept the limits of sanctions alone by sinking Iranian naval vessels in the Persian Gulf.
This call, pushed by Lieberman and Foundation for Defense of Democracies head Mark Dubowitz, who sought to parlay those intermittent events in which the US warships parked off Iran’s coast complain Iran’s boats, inside Iran’s territorial waters, are “too close” by simply attacking and sinking those boats at every opportunity.
It’s not restricted just to Iran’s Navy, however, as Dubowitz also noted that Israel is able to attack Syrian military targets within Syria with relative impunity, and that therefore the US could just as easily start unilaterally attacking Iranian military forces who are in the country to fight ISIS.
Ros-Lehtinen suggested that while the US is carrying out this overt war against Iran, they could also dramatically escalate sanctions against them, targeting entire sectors of the Iranian economy and reimposing the sanctions the US lifted under the P5+1 nuclear deal as soon as President-elect Donald Trump gets into office
UANI first made a name for itself pressuring US corporations to sign a pledge to never do business with Iran, and since the P5+1 deal lifted international sanctions has been inundating companies in nations like France with threats of an American boycott if they sign contracts with Iran.
The group has been described as primarily funded by Sheldon Adelson and Thomas Kaplan, and has also received legal support from the Obama Administration, as in 2014 when the Justice Department ordered a judge to cancel a defamation suit by a Greek shipper against UANI on “state secrets” grounds. This was the first time in history that a case not directly involving the US government or a defense contractor was ended because of the state secrets privilege.