U.S. Citizens are being lured to call their Senators to oppose the recently struck nuclear deal with Iran by a series of television commercials paid for by an organization calling itself the American Security Initiative (ASI). Reports say ASI has so far poured $6 million into buying ad space from TV stations throughout the country.
Although ASI is not revealing where the money is coming from, records show the president of the recently formed group, Norm Coleman, a former Republican Senator for Minnesota, is a registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia.
His company, Hogan Lovells, is paid a monthly retainer of $60,000 from the Saudi Arabian monarchy. Documents from July 2014 described Coleman’s work as “providing legal services to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia” on such issues as “legal and policy developments involving Iran and limiting Iranian nuclear capability.”
ASI co-chairs include former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., former Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. , and former Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. Chambliss is also employed by another lobbying firm contracted by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia to influence U.S. policy.
The anti Iran nuclear deal advertising campaign is just part of an all-out effort to convince U.S. senators to support legislation which is against international lifting of economic sanctions in exchange for inspections of Iran’s nuclear industry. The senate is expected to vote on the issue in September.
The Saudis and other Sunni dominated Persian Gulf governments view Shiite led Iran as a regional enemy. Middle East experts believe an underlying factor in the bad relations is fear that Iranian oil experts would compete with Saudi Arabia’s dominance in the international oil market.
The Syrian and Yemen crises which have opposing support from Iran and Saudi Arabia is also fueling bad relationships between the two nations.
Although U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has claimed senior Saudi officials have expressed support for the Iran nuclear deal, the experts say that behind the scenes Saudi Arabia is trying to kill the deal. Anonymous Saudi Officials have told Newsweek they oppose any deal with Iran and Saudi media with close ties to the Saudi Royal family have also criticised it.