After a testy exchange with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Capitol Hill on July 29, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas fired back against insults from the White House over his objections to secret side talks in the Iran peace deal.
In Wednesday’s exchange, Cotton questioned Kerry over alleged backroom deals that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made with leaders of Iran without the consent of the American government. Moreover, American leaders who led the negotiations with Iran were not a part of the secret side deals the IAEA and the United Nations agreed to with the Iranian government.
“Why can’t we confirm or deny the content of these agreements in public?,” Cotton asked Kerry. “Why is this classified? It’s not a sensitive U.S. government document. The Ayatollahs know what they agreed to.”
Kerry responded, “Because we respect the process of the IAEA and we don’t have their authorization to reveal what is a confidential agreement between them and another country.”
“So the ayatollahs will know what they agreed to but not the American people?,” Cotton said back.
On July 30, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest mocked Cotton’s remarks, calling him the “Republican international man of mystery” for mentioning the secret side deals between the United Nations and Iran, The Hill reported. Just one day later, Cotton released a video defending his criticism and calling out the Obama administration for the lack of transparency on the Iran deal.
“Secret side deals? Not-so-secret side deals?,” the video’s text asked. “The only mystery is why this administration can’t keep its story straight.”
“The American people deserve to see the secret side deals,” the video said. “The American people deserve a better deal with Iran.”
The Iran deal has come under heavy scrutiny from Democrats and Republicans alike for its leniency on the Iranian government. For example, a stipulation in the deal allows Iran 24 days prior notice before inspectors can enter the country to check for any odd behavior with the nation’s nuclear energy program, WND.com reported.