A war of tweets occurred between Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif, with a challenge from Cotton for the two to debate the U.S. constitution.
The tweeting began after Zarif said at New York University on Wednesday during his speech that if a nuclear deal is reached with Iran, sanctions would be lifted, “whether Sen. Cotton likes it or not.”
Cotton has been a strong opponent to the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran and spearheaded a controversial letter sent to Iranian leaders last month warning that any deal made with the Obama administration would swiftly be revoked when a new administration takes office in 2016.
Cotton took to Twitter to respond to Zarif’s comment, baiting him to participate in a debate on the U.S. constitution and calling out the foreign minister on Iran’s own political history. Four tweets were sent by Cotton (@SenTomCotton) to be read as one statement, they are as follows:
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“Hey @JZarif, I hear you called me out today. If you’re so confident, let’s debate the Constitution. 1/4."
“Here’s offer: meet in DC, @JZarif, time of your choosing to debate Iran’s record of tyranny, treachery, & terror. 2/4.”
“I understand if you decline @JZarif after all, in your 20s, you hid in US during Iran-Iraq war while peasants & kids were marched to die 3/4.”
“Not badge of courage @JZarif, to hide in US while your country fought war to survive-but shows cowardly character still on display today 4/4.”
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It took Zarif until the next day but he responded to Cotton via Twitter, reports Politico. His response included a congratulations on the birth of Cotton’s son.
“Serious diplomacy, not macho personal smear, is what we need,” Zarif tweeted. “Congrats on Ur new born. May U and Ur family enjoy him in peace .@SenTomCotton.”
Zarif did not tweet a response as to whether he would meet Cotton for a debate.
Cotton and Zarif’s twitter spat began the same day Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said Iran was the single greatest threat to the U.S. and that the country had directed “unmitigated hostility to America,” reports NBC News.
The Senate also rejected on Wednesday a Republican effort to only have sanctions relief occur for Iran if Obama can certify Tehran is not supporting acts of terrorism against Americans.
The Iran nuclear deal decision has a June 30 deadline.