US President Barack Obama reprimanded Republicans over the inflammatory letter to Iran’s leaders, in which they warned that a possible nuclear deal with Washington could be dismissed by the next president.
Forty-seven Republican senators cautioned Iran’s leaders on Monday that any nuclear deal with the United States needs congressional approval in order to be valid after President Obama finishes his second term.
The document, which was signed by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and 46 other Republicans, said that it wanted to educate Iran about the U.S. Constitution. As the nuclear talks approach a key deadline, the Republicans explained that without congressional approval, an eventual agreement would be just an “executive agreement” between President Obama and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The letter warned that the next US president could easily revoke such an agreement “with the stroke of a pen”, while future Congresses could modify the terms at any time.
President Obama responded the Republicans by saying he would make his case to the American people.
“It is somewhat ironic to see members of Congress wanting to make common cause with hardliners in Iran. It is an unusual coalition”, Obama said, adding that Washington’s focus right now is to get a deal and if it will get one “then we’ll be able to make the case to the American people”.
Vice President Joe Biden also criticized the letter, saying it is designed to undermine the President in the middle of international negotiations. A former senator with a great experience in Congress, Biden added that the document is “beneath the dignity of an institution I revere”.
Talks on a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program are in the final stages, but the letter could actively undermine the US foreign policy. It is not the first time when the Republicans and the White House cross their swords in recent weeks. A few days ago, Republican leaders invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a meeting in Congress, in spite of the White House opposition.
Netanyahu warned that even if a deal with Iran was reached, it would not prevent Teheran from getting nuclear weapons.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are due to meet for a new round of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 15. A deal is regarded as a key goal for the Obama administration.
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