A CNN correspondent suggested that an anti-nuclear-Iran group run by a former Obama administration official was working as a propaganda arm for the Israelis during a Twitter spat last week.
According to Tehran-based CNN correspondent Reza Sayah, the bipartisan advocacy group United Against a Nuclear Iran promotes anti-Iranian “propaganda” on behalf of “powerful bosses” and because of its “Israeli connections.”
“If UANI concerned about peace, how about one tweet demanding nuke free Mid[dle] East? For [you], that would be tricky wouldn't it?” Sayah wrote to UANI on Twitter.
UANI, which is run by President Barack Obama’s former WMD czar Gary Samore, responded to Sayah on its official Twitter account, “You're embarrassing yourself buddy, but please, go on.”
“I understand anonymous tweeter. Answering those questions wouldn't make your powerful bosses happy 😉 #propaganda,” Sayah replied.
Sayah then linked to a June blog post on the anti-Zionist website Mondoweiss that claimed UANI was part of the “Israel lobby” because it “gets a portion of [its] funding from organizations with a focus on Israel and Judaism.”
“Group bent on sanctioning #Iran & its Israeli connections,” wrote Sayah, linking to the Mondoweiss post.
Mondoweiss reported, “UANI gets a portion of their funding from organizations with a focus on Israel and Judaism. While the funding I discovered doesn’t amount to $1.5 million, it’s still a window into who their donors are.”
The blog reported that UANI received funding from the United Jewish Communities of Metrowest New Jersey, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, the Herbert Bearman Foundation, the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
Additionally, Mondoweiss reported that UANI has worked with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Israel Project, and the New York Jewish Community Relations Council. The blog post blasted the New York Times for allegedly neglecting to “mention any of these Israel lobby connections” in an article about UANI.
UANI is a nonprofit organization that seeks to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It has advocated for sanctions against the Iranian regime and often works with the media through its nonproliferation experts.
Its leadership includes former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Mark Wallace, former Obama Middle East adviser Dennis Ross, and ex-Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan.
Sayah has reported from Tehran on the nuclear negotiations between Iran and western leaders, recently writing about the disappointment in Iran after negotiators failed to reach a deal at a meeting last month. The world leaders later inked an agreement with Tehran to temporarily pause aspects of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.
Sayah did not immediately respond to a request for comment.