Secretary of State John Kerry called the open letter penned by 47 Republican senators to Iran’s leaders over negotiations on that country’s nuclear program “absolutely calculated,” “unprecedented” and “unthought-out,” states the Washington Post.
“It’s false information and directly calculated to interfere and basically say, ‘Don’t negotiate with them, you’ve got to negotiate with 535 members of Congress.’ That’s unprecedented. Unprecedented,” Kerry said in an interview Sunday with CBS News.
Congressional Republicans have thrown rules out the window.
Will the strategy yield rewards? CNN looks at some of Washington’s “rules.”
“A letter written by Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton and signed by forty-six other senators was sent to the Iranian leadership earlier this week that threatens a possible international agreement that the Obama administration is attempting to reach. With the deadline looming on March 24th this has seen as active sabotage and possibly even treason in a move that has never been seen by the Senate in the entire history of the United States.”
Snowden-story reporter Glenn Greenwald’s publication The Intercept reported on Monday, March 9th:
“Tomorrow, 24 hours later, Cotton will appear at an ‘Off the Record and strictly Non-Attribution’ event with the National Defense Industrial Association, a lobbying and professional group for defense contractors.
“The NDIA is composed of executives from major military businesses such as Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications, ManTech International, Boeing, Oshkosh Defense and Booz Allen Hamilton, among other firms.”
Arizona Republican Senator John McCain said on Tuesday night he wasn’t sure it was the best way to handle the situation.
“Maybe that wasn’t the best way to do that, but I think the Iranians should know that the Congress of the United States has to play a role in whether an agreement of this magnitude,” he said of the letter, according to MSNBC.
“I didn’t think it was going to further our efforts to get to a place where Congress would play the appropriate role that it should on Iran,” he said. “I did not think that the letter was something that was going to help get us to an outcome that we’re all seeking, and that is Congress playing that appropriate role.”
Arizona’s Republican Senator Jeff Flake said: “I just didn’t feel that it was appropriate or productive at this point. These are tough enough negotiations as it stands, and introducing this kind of letter, I didn’t think would be helpful,” he said.
New York’s Rep. Peter King, a hawkish Republican, said Tuesday he didn’t “know if I would have signed the letter. I don’t trust the president on this, quite frankly, though I don’t know if I’d go public with it to a foreign government,” he said.
“A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran’s leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama’s administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.
CNN states the letter was addressed to “the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber’s entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process.
“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the senators wrote. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
CNN states that Hillary Clinton criticized the Senate Republicans who wrote the letter aimed at undermining the President’s nuclear negotiations with Iran. She called the move “out of step with the best traditions of American leadership.”
The Democratic front-runner for the 2016 presidential campaign told reporters at the United Nations on Tuesday that “one has to ask, what was the purpose of this letter?”
“There appear to be two logical answers,” Clinton said, according to CNN. “Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander-in-chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy. Either answer does discredit to the letter’s signatories.”
How awkward that fellow Americans forced her to defend the situation.
The letter warns Iran’s leaders that a lasting nuclear deal would have to be approved by Congress.
Senator Tom Cotton, who spearheaded the letter, said Tuesday he’d welcome “even Hillary Clinton,” the presumptive Democratic presidential front-runner, to sign the letter. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 contender, signed the letter Tuesday, according to his spokeswoman.
“I suspect she might have reservations about this ill-fated nuclear deal with Iran as well,” Cotton said to CNN’s News Day.
Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham are among the 47 Republicans who signed Cotton’s letter.
In the video above, Cenk Uygur of TYT Network gives a scathing rebuttal.