Toomey defends decision to sign Iran letter

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, the Delaware Valley’s only Republican senator, is defending his decision to sign a controversial letter sent to the Iranian government by Senate Republicans.

The Obama administration has called the letter an unprecedented attempt to undermine ongoing peace talks with Iran. Iran’s leaders call it a “propaganda ploy.”

A total of 47 Republican senators — and no Democrats — signed the Iran letter.

Toomey declined to comment on specific criticisms of the letter, which warns the Iranian government that Congress can undo any agreement a president may reach.

But Toomey’s office issued a statement saying that he believes Iran needs to be reminded of Congress’ role in the diplomatic process, and the president’s limitations. Signing the letter was part of Toomey’s “long and active” record of trying to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran, his office wrote. 

“It’s critical that the Iranians know that a bad deal that fails to win congressional approval is a deal that will not stand for long,” the statement continued.

The Obama administration is currently trying to convince Iran to rein in its nuclear program in exchange for reduced economic sanctions.

But the author of the Republicans’ letter, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, recently told conservative activists that he hopes congressional intervention would help kill those talks.

“The end of these negotiations isn’t an unintended consequence of congressional action,” Cotton told attendees at the Heritage Action for America’s Conservative Policy Summit in January. “It is very much an intended consequence. A feature, not a bug, so speak.”

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