Blowback Continues from Tom Cotton’s Iran Letter
Policy + Politics

Blowback Continues from Tom Cotton’s Iran Letter

Evidence that ongoing negotiations with Iran to limit its development of fissile nuclear material were damaged by the decision by 47 Republican Senators to sign on to a letter drafted by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) continued to mount Thursday. Key leaders in Germany and the United Kingdom said the letter, warning the leaders of Iran that Congressional Republicans would not recognize the validity of the deal after President Obama leaves office, had made negotiations more difficult. 

The letter also sparked a sharp reaction from Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who told Iran’s state news service Thursday that he is concerned that the Islamic Republic cannot trust the United States. 

Related: Iran Pushes Back Against Senate GOP Letter 

“Of course I am worried, because the other side is known for opacity, deceit and backstabbing,” he said. “Every time we reach a stage where the end of the negotiations is in sight, the tone of the other side, specifically the Americans, becomes harsher, coarser and tougher. This is the nature of their tricks and deceptions.” 

Khamenei went on to say that the letter suggested a “decay of political ethics in the American system.” 

The Iranian leader’s claims were ironic, as was widely noted, because the Islamic Republic has itself been guilty of deceiving its international partners about its plans when it comes to nuclear activity. 

However, criticism of the Republicans’ letter was not limited to Iran. 

Related: To Stop Iran Deal, Tom Cotton Drops Diplomatic Bombshell 

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, who was in Washington on Thursday, was plainly displeased by the decision of the Senate’s Republican majority to insert itself into the discussion, which he described as “not helpful.” 

Speaking to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Steinmeier said, “It would have been difficult enough without the letter of the 47. “Now it has become somewhat more difficult.” 

He added, “Suddenly, Iran can say to us: ‘Are you actually trustworthy in the proposals you make if 47 senators say that no matter what the government agrees to, we will subsequently take that off the table again? This is no small matter we're talking about.” 

According to the Guardian Newspaper, in the British Parliament, U.K. Foreign Secretary told lawmakers that the letter could throw “a spanner in the works” and that the impact it would have on the Iranian regime was not predictable. 

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