Source: RFE/RL's Radio Farda
A group of 47 Republican senators warned on March 9 that any nuclear deal between U.S. President Barack Obama's administration and Iran may be short-lived unless it obtains congressional approval.
US-Iran negotiating teams meeting last week at the Swiss resort of Montreux
(source: Islamic Republic News Agency)
In an open letter to Iranian leaders, Senator Tom Cotton and 46 other Republicans said that without such approval, any deal would be just an agreement between Obama and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The letter said, "The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time."
Republicans and some Democrats want Congress to vote on any agreement.
The White House denounced efforts by Republican lawmakers to "throw sand in the gears" of talks over Iran's nuclear program.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the letter a "continuation of a partisan strategy" to undermine Obama's foreign policy strategy.
Earnest said the letter "certainly interferes" in efforts to negotiate a deal with Tehran.
Later, Obama called the Republican letter "somewhat ironic," saying it is "an unusal coalition" to see Republican senators sending a letter to "hard-liners" in Iran.
The Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Richard Durbin, called the letter "a cynical effort" to undermine sensitive international negotiations.
Washington and five other powers are seeking a pact that would prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief. They have set a March 31 target for a political framework and a June 30 deadline for a full deal.
The pact the negotiators are working on does not require congressional approval because it is not a treaty, which would require a two-thirds majority Senate vote to be ratified.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week said that the validity of any deal would have to be guaranteed by a vote in the UN Security Council.
With additional reporting by AP and politico.com
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