Newly-elected junior senator Tom Cotton has recently gone under criticism for his open letter to Iran about their negotiations with the US, since many believed that it undermined not only the Obama administration, but also the authority of America abroad. However, in a statement yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton stood behind the letter, stating that he had “no regrets at all”. The letter, signed last Monday by Tom Cotton and 46 other Republican senators, starts out with educating the Iranian leaders about the finer workings of the Constitution and the American political system. Then, it suggests that any international deal to limit Iran’s uranium-enrichment efforts toward a nuclear weapon without a congressional vote could be modified by a future Congress or revoked by whoever replaces Obama in 2017.
Tom Cotton’s actions have drawn criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, who argue that it breached foreign policy, and put partisan politics above foreign policy. On the other hand, supporters of the letter have argued that congressional Republicans are trying to stop the President from making a bad deal. They claim that they’ve otherwise exhausted their options for trying to get a vote on a final agreement before Iran gets Obama’s signature.
After years of stalled negotiation, Obama and the Iranian leaders have set a March deadline to agree on a framework for a final deal, set for June. According to Cotton, the Iranians frequently bluff to walk away from the table. Therefore, he believes it’s important to call their bluff. On the other side of the spectrum, Secretary of State John kerry called Cotton’s gambit “unconstitutional, un-thought-out action”. These remarks come alongside Obama’s accusation that these senators are looking to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran. Cotton, however, has suggested that Obama isn’t negotiating for the best deal, and took issue with the Iranian Foreign Minister dismissing the letter as a “propaganda ploy”.