Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) strongly defended his letter to Iran stating the importance of stopping their nuclear program and informing that country’s leaders how the constitutional government of the United States works. Host Bob Schieffer condemned the letter and asked why Cotton didn’t just put out something in The New York Times.

“Why did you decide to try to convince the Iranians that they needed to be wary of dealing with the United States?” Schieffer asked. “Why not take your argument to the American people? Why didn’t you write an open letter in The New York Times or something?”

Cotton explained:

Iran’s leaders needed to hear the message loud and clear. I can tell you, they are not hearing that message from Geneva. In fact, if you look at the response of the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, it underscores the need for the letter in the first place, because he made it clear that he does not understand our constitutional system. He thinks that international law can override our Constitution. 

Schieffer wondered if Republicans had plans to contact other countries. He asked, “Well, senator, are you planning to contact any other of our adversaries around the country? For example, do you plan to check with the North Koreans to make sure that they know that any deal has to be approved by the Congress?”

“Bob, right now, I, and most every other senator, is focused on stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” a smiling Cotton said. “That’s why it’s so important that we communicated this message straight to Iran, because they’re not hearing it from Geneva.”

Cotton reminded Schieffer that Iran’s Islamic revolution has been responsible for killing hundreds of Americans and Jews for the last 35 years and for them to produce a nuclear weapon would mean even more destruction around the world.

But Schieffer was still not sure how this letter helped America stay strong in the eyes of the international community and protested that it doesn’t appear to be helping the Obama administration’s negotiations. 

Cotton laid out his argument stating that putting too much trust in negotiations with America’s adversaries would be naive and could prove disastrous:

Well, it is a simple fact of our Constitution that if Congress doesn’t approve that deal, then it may not last. And the deal that is on the table right now, is a very bad deal. It would allow Iran to have thousands and thousands of centrifuges to continue enriching uranium. It would do nothing to the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. It’s excluded entirely the ballistic missile program that Iran has which is designed solely to strike the United States right here at home. And it could have ten-year sunset. Bob, since you brought up North Korea, I would point out that in 1994, the United States entered into something called the Agreed Framework to stop North Korea from getting a bomb — they almost immediately started cheated on it, and a mere 12 years later, they detonated their first nuclear weapon. Now the world has to live with the consequences of a nuclear North Korea. I don’t want the world to live with the consequences of a nuclear Iran.


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