Forty-seven GOP senators on Monday signed an open letter to the leaders of Iran, warning them that Republicans are prepared to undercut any nuclear agreement reached soon between the Islamic Republic and the United States.
Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and 46 other Republicans said any agreement reached wouldn’t have congressional support, The Associated Press reported. It only would be a deal between President Barack Obama and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, they said.
The Obama administration – along with the leaders of China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom – has been involved in tense negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program for months. Obama has been pushing for a diplomatic agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“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,” the Republicans wrote.
But on Sunday, Obama said the United States is willing to walk away from a potential deal with Iran if the country doesn’t agree to tighter and more stringent inspections.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to the letter during Monday’s White House press briefing, saying it interferes with negotiations. He described the letter “as the continuation of a partisan strategy to undermine the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy and advance our national security interests around the globe.” “The rush to war or at least the rush to the military option that many Republicans are advocating is not at all in the best interest of the United States,” he added.
Other senators who signed on included Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Only seven Senate Republicans decided not to sign the document, including Lamar Alexander, Dan Coats, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, and Lisa Murkowski.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress, coming down hard against the nuclear deal the United States is negotiating with Iran. Republican House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak without first consulting the Obama administration. While many congressional Republicans support Netanyahu, the White House called Boehner’s decision a breach of protocol.
“At a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations,” Netanyahu said on March 3. “We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.” His address took place three weeks before the deadline for the United States and its partners to reach an outlined agreement with Iran. Neither Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden attended the speech.