The Republican Party’s seditious letter to Iran has completely backfired and exploded in their faces. Sure, Tom Cotton, Mitch McConnell and their band of traitors in the Senate may have expected to be touted as heroes for defying the evil Obama administration and ensuring we risk starting a war with Iran and once again destabilizing the entire Middle East. Instead, the 47 Senators have widely received nothing but mockery — from Fox News, from President Obama, and even from Iranian government officials.
Now, the New York Times Editorial Board has joined in the universal mockery and condemnation of these 47 traitors in a scathing editorial posted on Wednesday. “After helping to ignite a firestorm over a possible nuclear agreement with Iran, Senator John McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate, is now sort of acknowledging his error. ‘Maybe that wasn’t exactly the best way to do that,’ he said on Fox News on Tuesday,” the Times began.
“Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Republicans — many of whom blessed the missive during a brisk signing session at a Senate lunch a week ago, as senators prepared to flee a Washington snowstorm — should have given it closer consideration.
“‘It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm,’ McCain said. ‘I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.’”
“The letter was an attempt to scare the Iranians from making a deal that would limit their nuclear program for at least a decade by issuing a warning that the next president could simply reverse any agreement,” the Editorial Board noted. “It was a blatant, dangerous effort to undercut the president on a grave national security issue by communicating directly with a foreign government.”
“Instead of trying to be leaders and statesmen,” the Board continued, “the Republicans in Congress seem to think their role is outside the American government, divorced from constitutional principles, tradition and the security interests of the American people.”
The editorial noted that, out of spite for President Obama, Republicans are not only willing to sabotage any deal with Iran but “to diminish America’s standing as a global power capable of crafting international commitments and adhering to them.”
The Editorial Board expressed concerns that this inappropriate and illegal attempt to interfere with negotiations could “embolden hard-liners in Iran who, like the Republicans and some of the Democrats in Congress, oppose any nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States and its major allies.”
So far, Iranian leaders have treated the letter as though it was a poorly-executed joke, mocking the signatories’ lack of knowledge of international law and of the U.S. Constitution. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, replied to the letter, pointing out 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.”
“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,” Zarif added. “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.”
For now, the letter has had no visible impact on negotiations — but it has told our allies, enemies, and future allies that the United States does not honor its commitments. And, of course, if the negotiations fall through, the Republicans’ stunt will place millions of lives at risk.
“The best and only practical way to restrain Iran from developing a bomb is through negotiating a strict agreement with tough monitoring,” the Board concluded. “In rejecting diplomacy, the Republicans make an Iranian bomb and military conflict more likely.”
These 47 Senators broke the law in contacting the Iranian government outside official channels in an attempt to sabotage ongoing talks — specifically, the Logan Act, which prohibits unauthorized citizens from directly or indirectly corresponding with foreign government officials “with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.”
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.