Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed Senate Republicans as “out of step” for sending a letter to the Iranian government in a bid to halt that country’s ongoing nuclear talks with the administration of President Barack Obama.
“Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander-in-chief in the midst of high stakes, international diplomacy,” Clinton said Tuesday at a press conference at the United Nations in New York.
“Either answer does discredit to the letters’ signatories.”
She added that the move was “out of step with the best traditions of American leadership.”
She spoke about Iran at the beginning of her session with reporters on Tuesday. The press conference was announced hours earlier amid the ongoing controversy over last week’s revelations Clinton relied on a personal email address during her time at the State Department. Questions about her email dominated the event.
Clinton is the latest Democrat to condemn the Republican attempt to waylay Obama’s plan to strike a nuclear deal with Iran. Those negotiations could pave the way for easing sanctions if Iran commits to abandon its nuclear program.
A group of 47 Senate Republicans, led by freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), sent the letter on Monday to warn Iran’s leadership that any deal could be nullified when Obama leaves office in 2017.
“The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time,” Cotton wrote.
Like Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden chastised the GOP manoeuvre, calling it a “dangerous mistake.”
“This letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American president, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States. Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger,” Biden said in a statement on Monday, adding, “It would be a dangerous mistake to scuttle a peaceful resolution, especially while diplomacy is still underway.”
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