Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman has been named chairman of United Against Nuclear Iran,
a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and advocacy group that opposes the nuclear deal recently negotiated with Iran by the Obama administration.
Also, the group's president is stepping down because he favors the deal, but will remain on its advisory board.
"UANI has led the effort to economically isolate the Iranian regime, and its bipartisan and international expertise makes it a highly respected voice on the merits of the Iran agreement," Lieberman said in a press release from the group. "I am honored to assume this new leadership role at this important time."
Lieberman was a Democrat and Independent senator representing Connecticut for 24 years. He was Democrat Al Gore's vice presidential running mate in 2000, but often crossed the aisle to work with Republicans.
"UANI is honored to have Senator Lieberman, a longtime UANI Advisory Board member and close friend, assume a leadership role at this critical time," said the group's CEO, former Ambassador Mark D. Wallace. "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."
Other leadership changes also were announced.
UANI's current executive director, David Ibsen, will become UANI president, and Matan Shamir, currently director of research, has been named executive director.
"They are true experts and are committed to professional and thoughtful work. UANI is fortunate that they have agreed to assume the larger roles of president and executive director, respectively," Wallace said of the two.
Current UANI President, Dr. Gary Samore will remain on the group's advisory board.
"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 said. "While concerned with many provisions of the Iran deal, Gary ultimately supports the agreement and is stepping down to avoid any conflict with UANI's work in opposition to the agreement."
"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," Samore said. "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 Obama administration is urging Congress to approve this months' agreement, but skeptical Republicans have been joined by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York others, including Rep. Brad Sherman of California, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, Rep. Nita Lowey of New York and Rep. Steve Israel of New York.
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