Head of group fighting Iran nuclear deal quits because he supports the deal

Gary Samore quit a groups fighting the Iran nuclear deal he supports
(Image credit: CC by: CSIS)

On Monday, the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) announced a new chairman, former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign aimed at sinking the Iran nuclear deal agreed to by Tehran and six world powers, including the U.S. More quietly, the group said that its president and co-founder, Gary Samore, was stepping down, replaced by David Ibsen.

The reason Samore resigned, he told The New York Times, is that after carefully studying the deal, he found he supports it. "I think President Obama's strategy succeeded," he said. "He has created economic leverage and traded it away for Iranian nuclear concessions." Samore isn't exactly a dove on Iran — he helped launch UANI in 2008 to promote tougher sanctions on Tehran, which he believed was secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. He later served as an adviser to Obama on nuclear issues.

And he doesn't think the deal is perfect, either. If the deal is enacted, "we will have bought a couple of years, and if Iran cheats or reneges we will be in an even better position to double down on sanctions or, if necessary, use military force," Samore told The Times. "If I knew for certain that in five years they would cheat or renege, I'd still take the deal." Samore remains on UANI's advisory board, and hopes the organization plays a role making sure non-nuclear sanctions remain against Iran.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.