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Heat grows on senators signing letter to Iran UPDATED

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. By Dave Helling/The Kansas City Star

UPDATED:

Kansas Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts are pushing back against critics of a letter sent to the Iranian leadship suggesting any arms agreement could be short-lived.

The two Republicans signed the open letter to Iran, as did Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and 44 of their GOP colleagues.

“Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the letter says. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen.”

Democrats have sharply criticized the letter, and some have called it traitorous.

“I think the term traitor is out of bounds,” Roberts, a Marine Corps veteran, said Tuesday.

“Sen. (Tom) Cotton had a very tough letter. I signed it,” he added. “What I’m really worried about is that these negotiations are being done in Geneva but the real negotiator is the supreme leader of Iran, and he is has never wavered from their goal of achieving nuclear capability.”

Roberts said he’s worried about a nuclear arms race in the region.

“So this is big stuff,” Roberts said. “I think Congress ought to play a role in it, and we have some pretty strong feelings about it, so that’s exactly what the letter described.”

Moran made similar statements.

“There’s no more important national security issue than whether Iran or other terrorists are going to have nuclear capabilities,” the Republican said in Washington.

Executive agreements are typically binding, most experts say. But most of controversy now surrounds the wisdom of inserting an apparently partisan letter into the negotiating process with Iran.

Democrats have talked with foreign leaders before as well.

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