White House national security adviser John Bolton speaking to reporters at a US counterterrorism presentation. (Reuters)

February 26, 2019

Russia’s rebuke of an American organization aligned with opponents of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is “unacceptable,” President Trump’s top national security adviser said Saturday.

“If President Putin is serious about stabilizing the Middle East, confronting terrorism & preventing a nuclear arms race in the region, he should stand with UANI & against Iran,” John Bolton tweeted.

Bolton came to the defense of United Against Nuclear Iran one day after a senior Russian diplomat accused the nonprofit group of trying to “intimidate Russian business” interests that seek to invest in Iran. The organization, which hosted Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a conference held adjacent to the United Nations General Assembly in September, has been writing letters to Russian business executives warning that Iranian investments could fall afoul of U.S. sanctions.

“Any attempts to intimidate Russian business are a continuation of the indecent acts by the current U.S. administration,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday. “The Russian business must be guided by the rules of national laws, not by the statements and rules by the notorious organizations of political nature from abroad.”

Zakharova cited a series of letters that Mark Wallace, the UANI chief executive and a former ambassador with the U.S. mission to the United Nations, as examples of such U.S. overreach in abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal.

“The fact that such letters are sent by the NGOs and signed by the people who call themselves ambassador only degrade the state of the American diplomacy,” she said, per a translation curated by UANI. “They only show the inability of Washington to comply with its international obligations.”

Wallace’s letters, sent to companies such as LUKOIL and Aeroflot, requested confirmation that the companies “will be terminating all Iran business” in light of the renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran. Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, the chairman of the organization, argued that the letters prove the group has been “effective at convincing the business community that investing in Iran is dangerous and unacceptably risky” and rebuffed Zakharova’s criticism.

“We are making the case every day that doing business with the regime in Tehran funds terrorism and regional adventurism that threatens the stability of our allies and the lives of individuals from across the globe — including Russians,” Lieberman said in a Friday evening statement — issued jointly with Frances Townsend, who advises UANI and previously served as a homeland security adviser under President George W. Bush.

“A nuclear Iran is a global threat — not just an American one,” they continued. “And irresponsible and reckless businesses provide the resources needed by the regime to make this threat a reality. UANI will not be deterred by the usual Russian tactics of personal threats and intimidation.”

The Washington Examiner

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.