Take Action: The Senate's Rogue Letter to Iran
Just when you thought Congress couldn’t get any more dysfunctional …
Today, 47 Senate Republicans directly contacted Iranian leaders threatening to spike any agreement Iran signs. [i]
Some legal scholars are saying the contact is not just unconstitutional, it’s illegal. [ii] But its intent is clear: destroy diplomacy.
The Senators’ condescending letter to Iranian leadership is an unprecedented attempt to undermine senstive talks still underway. It sets a dysfuctional, reckless precedent for Congress and the President to start conducting their own independent foreign policies.
The letter encourages the Iranians not to put much stock in an agreement signed by the president given that “President Obama will leave office in 2017 while most of us will remain in office well beyond then.” This undermines U.S. diplomats by encouraging Iranians to harden their positions or walk away from the table completely.
It’s now clear these Senators are trying to destroy the talks. The Senator who spearheaded the letter, Tom Cotton, made this transparent when he said “end of these negotiations isn’t an unintended consequence of congressional action. It is very much an intended consequence — a feature, not a bug.”
These Senators are also being bold about war being the alternative to talks. Yesterday when Senator Ron Johnson dismissed Obama’s Iran diplomacy as a “bad deal” he revealed the alternative: “We cannot allow them to have a nuclear weapon, if that means military action, that’s what we’ll end up taking.” [iii]
Unfortunately, a number of Democratic Senators have signed onto bills that would harm the talks. Those Senators need to hear that you want them to distance themselves from this unprecedented effort to undermine the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
One of the destructive bills lays the groundwork for a politicized up-or down vote on any deal. It should be painfully obvious that a deal won’t get a fair hearing in Congress right now. Another bill adds sanctions that could kill the talks. Democrats, and more level-headed Republicans, need to hear that now is not the time to join with anti-diplomacy forces.