Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif brushed aside the letter that 47 Republican members in the U.S. Senate sent to him on March 9, saying that the letter has “no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy.”
The letter, signed by 47 of the 54 Republicans in the Senate including 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, warned that President Barack Obama’s agreement with Iran could be void if the next president sees fit, as the current talks have not been approved by Congress.
The Senators write, “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.”
Zarif later issued his own response to the letter: “It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods unprecedented in diplomatic history.”
Zarif also said, “This kind of letter is unprecedented and undiplomatic. In truth, it told us that we cannot trust the United States,” despite reports that say talks between the two longtime enemies have been productive.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate have also criticized Republicans for their letter. California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently said, “I am appalled at the latest step of 47 Republicans to blow up a major effort by our country and the world powers to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear program. This is a highly inappropriate and unprecedented incursion into the president’s prerogative to conduct foreign affairs and is not befitting this chamber. This letter only serves one purpose — to destroy an ongoing negotiation to reach a diplomatic agreement in its closing days.”
In the ongoing talks, the P5 + 1 nations — the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — are advocating for the right to check Iran’s nuclear program to make sure the volatile nation is only using it for energy and peaceful reasons. The next set of talks with be in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 15.
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/Flickr