- A letter written to Iran by Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican, and signed by 46 other Republican senators warns Iran against agreeing to a nuclear deal.
The signers claim that a future U.S. Congress or President might not honor the deal since they oppose it. The Senate has been trying for months to sabotage the talks. Republicans also, without consulting the Obama administration, invited Israeli prime minister Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress and speak against an Iran nuclear deal. The Senate has been unsuccessfully trying to get "veto power" over the deal and also to impose sanctions in violation of the interim treaty.The Logan Act makes it a felony for any US citizen to correspond with a foreign government "in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States." However, the Act has never been successfully used — it was passed in 1799 but is still on the books.The Foreign Minister of Iran Javad Zarif took the letter for exactly what it is and how he described it. The letter. he said, was a "propaganda ploy" attempting to sabotage ongoing diplomacy with the Obama administration. Zarif pointed out that international law makes it clear that treaties are binding from one administration to another. This might not stop the U.S. from breaking the agreement however.Several of the senators who signed the letter may hope to be presidential candidates for the Republicans including Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Lindsey Graham. Republican Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Rick Perry of Texas also supported the letter. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, an opponent of any nuclear deal with Iran, donates to many Republican campaigns as well as to Netanyahu's reelection campaign.Just 24 hours after sending his letter to Iran, Senator Cotton is to appear at an "Off the Record and strictly non-Attribution" event sponsored by the lobbying and professional group for defense contractors the National Defense Industrial Association(NDIA). The NDIA is composed of executives from major military defense contractors. Cotton pushes for higher defense spending and a more aggressive foreign policy. He has called for military intervention in Iran. He has also suggested that the US Congress should supply Israel with B-52s, and "bunker-buster" bombs both manufactured by NDIA member Boeing.Some Republicans were critical of the letter. One Republican aide described it as "lighthearted" and accused the Obama administration of lacking a sense of humor:
“The administration has no sense of humor when it comes to how weakly they have been handling these negotiations,” said a top GOP Senate aide.As Obama points out, on the appended video, the Republicans who signed the letter are agreeing with the hardliners in Iran who say the U.S. cannot be trusted in any agreement.