Obama mocks US Republicans' letter to Iran, Biden blasts it as 'dangerous'

Making light of a threatening letter to Iran sent by Republican Senators, President Barack Obama has derided the opponents and said that it was “ironic” to see some Congress members forming an “unusual coalition” with Iranian hardliners.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Mar 10, 2015, 17:13 PM IST
Obama mocks US Republicans' letter to Iran, Biden blasts it as 'dangerous'

Washington: Making light of a threatening letter to Iran sent by Republican Senators, President Barack Obama has derided the opponents and said that it was “ironic” to see some Congress members forming an “unusual coalition” with Iranian hardliners.

The letter that was mainly authored by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, was signed by 47 Republicans and was apparently aimed at warning Iran about any nuclear deal that may be signed with the US under the current Obama administration.

"It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system," the letter said.

Calling the potential deal as a mere “executive agreement”, the Republican Senators have tried to threaten Iran that the deal may be revoked by just a “stroke of pen” and its terms could be easily modified after Obama leaves office in 2017.

In a menacing tone, the Republicans added that "most of us will remain in office well beyond (January 2017 when Obama's tenure will come to end)". 

Taking the Republicans' audacious letter in his stride, Barack Obama almost laughed it off saying,

"I think it is somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with hardliners in Iran...It is an unusual coalition."

Apparently not lending much weight to the letter, Obama said that he would better focus his attentions on getting a deal in the first place.

US Vice President Joe Biden went ballistic over the letter, calling the letter as a "misleading" message and slamming the Republicans for having violated the "dignity of an institution I revere".

Indignant over the letter, Biden said that the Republicans' letter was designed offensively to "undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system".

"In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country -- much less a longtime foreign adversary -- that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments -- a message that is as false as it is dangerous," Biden said in a statement.

The Republicans' letter comes at a time when talks with Iran are in final stages and they have time till March 31 for hammering out a nuclear deal.

For the next round of talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  are to meet in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 15.

This is not the first time Republicans have acted in a way so as to negate the possibility of a nuclear deal with Iran.

Earlier, the Republicans invited Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint house of Congress, without consulting the White House, angering the Democrats.

In the speech, that came on the day Kerry was meeting his Iranian counterpart for talks, Netanyahu emphatically stressed on how the deal, instead of curbing Iran's nuclear pursuit, will “pave its way to a bomb”.

Obama had written off Netanyahu's speech as an “nothing new to offer”.