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Iran Leader Says GOP Senators’ Letter Implies U.S. ‘Not Trustworthy’

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Iran Leader Says GOP Senators’ Letter Implies U.S. ‘Not Trustworthy’

Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Geneva on January 14 for a bilateral meeting to provide guidance to their negotiating teams before their next round of discussions, which begin on January 15. U.S. Mission/Eric Bridiers via Flickr

By Ramin Mostaghim and Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

TEHRAN — Iran’s foreign minister on Tuesday said that a letter from 47 Republican senators warning that any agreement on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program must receive congressional approval suggests that the U.S. is “not trustworthy.”

The open letter released Monday also warned Iran’s leaders that the next U.S. president could revoke a deal reached with President Barack Obama.

“This kind of communication is unprecedented and undiplomatic,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said, according to a state-run television website. “In fact it implies that the United States is not trustworthy.”

Zarif described the letter as part of a “propaganda campaign” that began with an address last week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress, in which he challenged the still-developing deal as unwise and dangerous.

He also suggested that some members of Congress were not fully abreast of international law or their own Constitution when it comes to the authority of the president to conduct foreign policy.

“The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfill the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal laws as justification for a failure to perform their international obligations,” Zarif was quoted as saying. “We insist that a possible deal should be one where our people’s rights are observed and we are certain that there are measures to achieve such a deal.”

Obama and Democrats in Congress have also denounced the letter, accusing Senate Republicans of trying to scupper the negotiations.

“It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran,” Obama said. “It’s an unusual coalition.”

The letter was drafted by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and signed by 46 of his Republican colleagues.

The U.S. and five world powers have struggled since 2013 to negotiate a deal that would impose limits and oversight on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Negotiators hope to reach a framework agreement this month and a final accord later this year.

Western nations have long suspected that Iran is trying to develop the ability to build a nuclear bomb, charges denied by Tehran, which insists its program is restricted to civilian uses such as power generation.

Photo: Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Geneva on January 14 for a bilateral meeting to provide guidance to their negotiating teams before their next round of discussions, which begin on January 15. (U.S. Mission/Eric Bridiers via Flickr)



  1. Independent1 March 10, 2015

    Here’s what a neoconservative newspaper, the NY Daily Times thinks of the 47 Republicans who signed that letter to Iran:

    BOOM! The backlash to the GOP warmongering stunt has been withering, and now a leading pro-GOP, pro-Likud paper is calling them “traitors” in a banner front page headline.

    The NY Daily News is a reactionary paper, owned by a neo-conservative, which endorsed George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. They also oppose the administration’s efforts to avoid war and strike a non-nuclear arms agreement with Iran.

    But even for them, an attempt by GOP Senators to sabotage and scuttle the foreign policy negotiations of a sitting US President was a bridge too far.

    Regardless of President Obama’s recklessness in negotiation a nuclear deal with Iran, 47 Republican U.S. senators engaged in treachery by sending a letter to the mullahs aimed at cutting the legs out from under America’s commander-in-chief.

    We strenuously condemn their betrayal of the U.S. constitutional system

    They are an embarrassment to the Senate and to the nation.



    1. jmprint March 11, 2015

      “They are an embarrassment to the Senate and to the nation.”

      So true and so sad.

  2. Independent1 March 10, 2015

    And here’s what the Iranian FM had to say:

    Asked about the open letter of 47 US Senators to Iranian leaders, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, responded that “in our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy. 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. This indicates that like Netanyahu, who considers peace as an existential threat, some are opposed to any agreement, regardless of its content.

    Zarif expressed astonishment that some members of US Congress find it appropriate to write to leaders of another country against their own President and administration. He pointed out that from reading the open letter, it seems that the authors not only do not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the nuances of their own Constitution when it comes to presidential powers in the conduct of foreign policy.

    The Iranian Foreign Minister added that “change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.” He continued “I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.
    He emphasized that if the current negotiation with P5+1 result in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it will not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US, but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution.

    See more here:


    1. Dominick Vila March 11, 2015

      It is a sad moment in our history when the Iranian leadership feels compelled to teach a lesson in U.S. Constitutional law, and international protocol, to Republican members of Congress.

      1. FireBaron March 11, 2015

        Dominick, when you consider that just about each and every member of any foreign government (including the Fat Kid in the DPRK) has a better understanding of our Constitution than the collective GOP membership of Congress, that really says something. All the GOP knows is the Senate has “Advise and Consent”, they need 2/3 majority to override a veto and the 2nd Amendment gives them the right to bear arms – even though a significant number of them cannot pass an FBI background check allowing them to legally purchase them.

  3. Daniel Jones March 10, 2015

    It is witheringly clear that the “not my President” mindset has unhinged 47 members of the Senate.
    News Flash, motherfuckers!
    President Clinton was your President when that infamous line was uttered.
    President Obama is the President now.
    If he wasn’t so tolerant, a concept beyond you inbred backwoods know-nothing *hicks*, you’d be up on sedition charges for this stunt.

  4. Dominick Vila March 11, 2015

    The unprecedented decision made by 47 Republican Senators to write a letter to the most radical Islamic Mullahs in the Iranian government is bearing fruit. The Iranians, and governments and people around the world, now have evidence that the USA is not united and does not speak with one voice when they negotiate international agreements. From reductions in the size and lethality of nuclear arsenals, to the ongoing negotiations to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, the GOP has announced to the entire world that the USA should not be trusted, and that international agreements signed with us are, at best, temporary measures to be rejected or overturned at will. The GOP has turned the United States into the laughingstock of the world, and there are still many among us that don’t realize what they have done to our credibility, and continue to support the morons they elected because they are “sticking it to Obama”.

  5. bobnstuff March 11, 2015

    If you think this is bad, just wait, it will get much worse before 2016. Every nut job in the GOP will be out trying to out crazy each other. If we get through this with out war we will be lucky.

    1. FireBaron March 11, 2015

      They already are, bob.

  6. charleo1 March 11, 2015

    This latest act of open rebellion by the increasingly radical Right has been described as unhelpful, out of step, and beneath the dignity of the Senate, and unprecedented. And all are true, except for the latter. As was recently discovered, Richard Nixon secretly communicated to the N. Vietnamese Gov. he would give them much more generous terms, if elected. And their backing away from negotiations with the Johnson Adm. would be very helpful to his chances. And indeed the N. Vietnamese did call off the talks. Nixon won, and went on double cross Ho, and the American people he had promised to, “responsibly,” end the war, by widening it. And then, under intense political pressure, ignominiously retreated. And thus overseeing the total failure, that was Vietnam. The largest American military effort since the Second World War. Outrageous sure! Who believes Nixon would have seen the inside of the WH, had this knowledge came out? That Americans play games, has been known for years. That we can, and often are, very untrustworthy. Our foreign policy has been compared to that of a blind javelin thrower. That’s so unpredictable, even those in the stands need pay close attention. Reagan shipped arms to Bin Laden in Afghanistan, who was leading the Mujahideen in their efforts against the Soviet Union. And generously supplied weapons to Saddam Hussein, in his war against the Iranian Regime. Both of which later became convenient targets of future Republican Administrations. But we’re hardly ever as overt in our inconsistency as this letter points out to the Iranian heads of state. So, these 47 Senators say, Let us remind you how it all works over here. See, we don’t recognize this President’s authority to negotiate anything with you guys, unless we sign off on the deal. And, we’re not gonna do that! No way! So, you may as well leave the room. Forgetaboutit! We’re actually having our own little Arab Spring over here in America. And we’re kinda on the same side as the hard liners in Israel, and radical Islamists in your terrorist Country. Who tell you all the time, you’re all fools to try and make deals with The Great Satan, and it’s puppets. And you know what? They’ve got a point! And this letter to yous guys, is to drive that home, so you don’t wind up making the same mistake like Muammur did! Kapeesh?

  7. charleo1 March 11, 2015

    So let’s for a moment look at this letter as it was not intended. First of all it was not intended as a Constitutional tutorial to the Mullas in Iran. And it wasn’t about the feared, “bad deal,” the President was making with them. It wasn’t even about the likelihood, or the inevitability of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, if a deal was struck. It was intended to be, and was, a very public, transparent, and high profile, insult to The President of The United States, as he carried out his duties on the World Stage. By a large majority of the Republican Senators in the U.S. Congress. At least two of which are contemplating running for the very office they are happily dragging thru the mud, by signing this letter. And if they were to win the Presidency. Who believes they wouldn’t demand all the respect it has traditionally carried? The idea that we may have deep disagreements with the holder of America’s highest office. But we always hold the Office of President itself in the highest esteem, and comport ourselves accordingly. As generations have previously recognized, if we don’t respect that office, who in the World could be expected to respect anything the Country stands for? Well, all that’s just taken a huge hit. And we’re a weaker Country for it. But, as is also evident, the Right Wingers could not be more pleased, or support the letter in more glowing terms. American democracy at it’s finest, they huff! Well within their Rights, and so upfront, and honest! Which would sadly have been the defense, should Senator Cotton spat in the face of President Obama. Good for him! The extremist would have yelled! It’s about time somebody stood up to the tyrant! So much better than a simple, “You lie!” Injected in the middle of a State of the Union Speech. Do it again, Cotton!!!! So hubris they’ve gotten. American Exceptionalism? You bet cha! Bigotry? Absolutely. Shame? That our politics has sunken to such an ignorant, and embarrassing level? That there is not immediate, and widespread condemnation? Not at all.

    1. Independent1 March 11, 2015

      Charleo, there’s a petition on the White House website asking that the Obama Administration at least begin legal proceedings to hold these 47 nutcases accountable for violating the Logan Act of 1799.

      Many have pointed out that it’s not likely anything would come of such a prosecution, but it’s my feeling that if for no other purpose than to make these 47 a public spectacle for all Americans to see, such a case should be put in motion to educate as many Americans as possible about just how detrimental of an action to America’s credibility around the world, these 47 treasonous legislators have created. Ideally the case should be played up in the media to subject these 47 treasonous senators to as much embarrassment as possible.

      For those NM posters who would be interested in signing the petition there’s a link below. It already has over 150,000 signatures and has reached the point of requiring a White House response; but the more signatures the better (it has gained over 15,000 signatures in the past 2 hours).

      The ‘We the People’ petition:

      File charges against the 47 U.S. Senators in violation of The Logan Act in attempting to undermine a nuclear agreement.


      1. Grannysmovin March 11, 2015

        I learned yesterday that the Logan Act is usesless piece of legislation today.
        “They probably were in violation of the act, yes,” says Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the American University Washington College of Law. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, probably broke the law, too, by working with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to undermine the nuclear negotiations with Iran, he says.
        But Vladeck, co-editor-in-chief of the legal blog Just Security, says senators could argue they were indeed acting with the authority of the United States or more convincingly that the act violates the First Amendment.
        “The Logan Act is a vestigial and anachronistic holdover from a bygone era,” he says. “There’s never been a successful prosecution under the act, and the last indictment was in 1803.” “The Logan Act comes from a rather dark period in which this country imposed the Alien and Sedition Acts,” he says. “The language of the Logan Act is sweeping and in my view facially unconstitutional. ”http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/gop-senators-probably-broke-law-with-iran-letter/ar-AA9BIdI?ocid=HPCDHP

        I signed the petition anyway just so there is a recod of the amount of people who disapprove of their actions.

        1. Allan Richardson March 11, 2015

          Nevertheless, there is a difference between expressing your free speech to the public in general, and approaching the leaders of another nation to tell them personally that you represent the “true” opinion of the United States. One egregious violation occurred in 1980 during that year’s presidential campaign, and was successfully kept secret from the public until after the 1984 election, in which the perpetrators deceived the public long enough to be re-elected. President Carter was negotiating in good faith with the Iranian government, offering only what he would be legally authorized to offer, to get over four hundred American hostages released. Unknown to him or to anyone else in the United States, the Republican campaign got friends of George Bush (a private citizen at the time) from his days at the CIA to approach the Iranian rulers secretly and make a deal, that if they did NOT release the hostages until after the election, an action which would, and eventually did, help the GOP to WIN the election by making the president appear incompetent, and then release them to the NEW president, Iran would be able to buy arms secretly and illegally. This was not exposed to the public in time to influence the 1980 vote, or even the 1984 vote; two weeks after the 1984 election, with Reagan and Bush safely elected for a second term, the Iran-Contra scandal broke. Even then, the emphasis in the media was on the trade of arms FOR hostage release, not on the trade of arms for DELAYING their release, nor on the fact that the deal was made by PRIVATE CITIZENS HOPING to become our new leaders, SABOTAGING the legitimate president’s negotiations.

          This would seem to be a clear violation of the Logan act, yet no one was ever prosecuted for helping to KEEP THE HOSTAGES CAPTIVE SEVERAL MONTHS LONGER.

          1. Grannysmovin March 11, 2015

            I never heard about this. Thank you for the information and will research further.

      2. charleo1 March 11, 2015

        I like the sentiment. For this makes me as personally angry as anything these cretins have pulled, since trying to tank the economy in mid recession. But as ‘grannysmovin’ comment points out, and I agree. This kind of anti-everything garbage is very difficult to legislate against, and protect other rights, such as freedom of speech. As obnoxious, and disrespectful as that speech might be. One petition I truly hope sends a clear message is the one we all should, “sign,” on election day 2016. Letting the insurrectionists in Congress know their may not be legal limits on this type of behavior. But there are limits beyond which the people, in the interests of their country will not abide, nor tolerate. And one such limit is the tearing down of our democratic institutions for the purposes of pandering to a radical base of malcontents, and racists.

      3. InformedVoter March 11, 2015

        Hello Independent1 (AKA, liberal dummy), The Logan Act does NOT apply in this case! The Logan Act is meant for “unauthorized” citizens ONLY. Congress is the only authorized body to declare war, etc, (not even the president can do this – the president can ask, but not declare), so they were giving the Iran government a “heads up” that any deal that Obama strikes, unless approved by Congress, would not be the final word or even the legal word. Too bad your liberal history/civics lessons neglected to inform you of reality

        1. Independent1 March 11, 2015

          Sorry clueless, but our Constitution does not grant any individual members of Congress the authority TO MEDDLE IN ESTABLISHING FOREIGN POLICY!! With that regard they are no better than the average citizen. Having the authority to declare war and the authority to set foreign policy are two totally separate things!!! And the letter was not written based on a ‘consensus of Congress’; such as would be the case with it declaring war. That letter was wrlitten just as if it was coming from an average citizen: individually, these treasonous idiots have no more authority than you or I. None of them individually can enforce or not enforce anything that you and I are or are not able to do.

        2. 1standlastword March 12, 2015

          Cotton mouth gives “A heads up” ….What’s “too bad” here is not anybody’s liberalism–which doesn’t count for anything of real import–but that there is not a toilet on the planet big enough to flush your head!!

          That’s too bad!

          See the big picture and if you can tell us where do we go from here after another big republican sponsored &hit storm (Iraq invasion, government shutdown, deregulated Wall Street, Too Big To Fail, no no no for 7-years)

          Sounds partisan but things for America and the world started going really bad after a republican administration nobody wants to name!

          Why don’t you run for office Sherlock! You’re self proclaimed…INFORMED

  8. jmprint March 11, 2015

    The dumbest, stupidest thing anyone individual could have done, was approved by 47 idiots. It pains me to see this happen to our President. No respect for the White House, no respect for our government.

  9. Wayneo March 11, 2015

    “…some members of Congress were not fully abreast of international law or their own Constitution …” So true!

  10. Jack Reacher March 11, 2015

    We need to keep in mind that sometimes, on these Middle East issues, conservatives are too naive to recognize that their patriotism is being used against them.

  11. MichelleRose3 March 12, 2015

    It’s a helluva thing when an Iranian has to lecture us on the proper interpretation of international law and the real meaning of our own Constitution!

  12. dylan pepperling March 12, 2015

    Cruz, Rubio and the other mor-ons are a disgrace to America.


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