US media criticises Republican Senators for letter to Iran

 The American media has strongly criticised the 47 Republican Senators who wrote an open letter to the Iranian leadership over the ongoing nuclear talks with the US, with a leading daily calling it a "blatant, dangerous effort to undercut" President Barack Obama.

PTI| Last Updated: Mar 12, 2015, 15:43 PM IST

Washington: The American media has strongly criticised the 47 Republican Senators who wrote an open letter to the Iranian leadership over the ongoing nuclear talks with the US, with a leading daily calling it a "blatant, dangerous effort to undercut" President Barack Obama.

"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," a lead editorial in The New York Times said today.

"It was a blatant, dangerous effort to undercut the president on a grave national security issue by communicating directly with a foreign government," the editorial said.

The letter by the 47 Republican Senators, published on Monday, warned Iranian leaders that any nuclear deal they sign with President Obama won't last past his second term.

The White House has described the letter as "reckless" and "irresponsible." It said the letter interfered with efforts by six powers - the US, France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China - to negotiate with Iran and prevent it from building a bomb.

The Washington post said: "Congressional Republicans are trying to obstruct President Obama from concluding a nuclear agreement with Iran, but the only tangible result of their efforts has been to impede serious debate about the legitimate issues arising from the potential deal."

It said the letter "prompted predictable blasts of rhetoric from the White House, the Senate caucuses and even the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, but not a word of discussion about what the Republicans say worries them: whether the terms being offered to Iran by the Obama administration are in the United States' interest."

In an editorial Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the letter to "leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran" was damaging to America's role in the world.

"Clearly, this is one time when the Senate would be best advised to zip it until it sees something that actually represents an enforceable agreement, rather than engage in the usual Obamaphobia... The amateurish missive succeeded in doing little but giving the hardliners in Tehran hope that the negotiations will crumble, as their chief argument is that the US cannot be trusted," New Jersey's Star Ledger said.

The Los Angeles Times said the "Republican senators moved beyond principled opposition to outright interference".

"It's one thing for Republicans in Congress to invite an ally to criticise a potential nuclear deal with Iran, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did last week. But it's beyond the pale to write to the leaders of a potential enemy to sabotage the negotiations, as 47 GOP Senators did Monday," the Sacramento Bee wrote in an editorial.

"Does their enmity toward President Barack Obama run so deep that in hopes of embarrassing him and denying him a legacy, they're willing to blow up very sensitive talks on a matter of national security?"

The Miami Herald editorial said the letter is "another troubling break with precedent that threatens to undermine the president's ability to conduct foreign policy."