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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Senator Tom Cotton: Why We Wrote the Letter to Iran

 Iranian leaders need to know that the Senate must approve any deal President Obama negotiates.
 
Senator Tom Cotton  (Photo: Danny Johnston, AP)
The critical role of Congress in the adoption of international agreements was clearly laid out by our Founding Fathers in our Constitution. And it's a principle upon which Democrats and Republicans have largely agreed.

In fact, then-Sen. Joe Biden once reflected on this very topic, writing that "the president and the Senate are partners in the process by which the United States enters into, and adheres to, international obligations."

It's not often I agree with former senator and now Vice President Biden, but his words here are clear. The Senate must approve any deal President Obama negotiates with Iran by a two-thirds majority vote.

Anything less will not be considered a binding agreement when President Obama's term expires in two years. This is true of any agreement, but in particular with the nuclear deal President Obama intends to strike with Iran.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the Obama administration has so far completely bypassed Congress in its negotiations with Iran.

The administration cares little about what will win congressional approval — only complete nuclear disarmament — and more about just reaching some sort of deal.

Regrettably, it appears the deal President Obama is negotiating with Iran will not be a good one. In fact, if reports are correct, it will be a bad one that will ultimately allow Iran to continue its nuclear program and ultimately develop a nuclear weapon.

That is why this week, I, along with 46 of my fellow senators, wrote Iranian leaders to inform them of the role Congress plays in approving their agreement. Our goal is simple: to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

I do not take my obligations as a senator lightly. Nor do those who are signatories to the letter. If the president won't share our role in the process with his negotiating partner, we won't hesitate to do it ourselves.

Our constituents elected us to the Senate, in part, to protect them from bad agreements like this and to help ensure their safety and security. And that is what we intend to do.


Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the lead signatory to the open letter to Iran's leaders.


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