Congressional leaders have begun pressuring their colleagues to cut off all U.S. funding for the ongoing talks with Iran over its contested nuclear program as the Obama administration rushes to hash out the details of a deal in the coming months, according to multiple sources and a letter that will be sent next week to appropriators in the House of Representatives.
Yesterday morning 47 Republican senators opposed to a bad deal with Iran released an open letter to the Iranian regime. In the letter, they point out that any deal negotiated by President Obama without consultation with the Congress will face major resistance in the United States, and will be unlikely to outlast his presidency.
Later in the day, the president responded by accusing the signatories of the letter of “wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran.” Moreover, he suggested that the 47 American senators and Iranian hardliners together constituted an “unusual coalition.”
As a candidate for president, Barack Obama made diplomacy with rogue regimes a signature issue. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them…is ridiculous,” he declared in 2007. In both his inaugural address and his first television interview as president, he reached out to the Islamic Republic of Iran. “If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us,” he told Al-Arabiya. In the six years since, whether firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or reformer-by-comparison Hassan Rouhani held the Iranian presidency, Obama has been so committed to a deal on Iran’s illicit nuclear program that he hasn’t let anything stand in his way—Congress, allies, or even facts.