Yael T. Abouhalkah

Was Iran letter traitorous or just treacherous for GOP Sens. Blunt, Roberts and Moran?

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, was one of the 47 signers of a letter to Iran, which undermined President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, was one of the 47 signers of a letter to Iran, which undermined President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. THE KANSAS CITY STAR

The three GOP U.S. senators representing Kansas and Missouri signed on to a letter that undermined President Barack Obama’s ability to work out a nuclear deal with Iran.

Some detractors are labeling as traitorous Monday’s actions by Pat Roberts, Jerry Moran, Roy Blunt and 44 other Republicans.

The critics offer a plausible reason for being so upset: The letter was a near-unprecedented attempt by one party to meddle in the foreign diplomatic affairs of the United States, as presented by the president.

Given the Republicans’ pure hatred of Obama, it also seemed extra personal, yet another politically motivated attempt to stop him from doing anything that might be perceived as a victory for his administration.

On Tuesday, Tom Cotton, the freshman senator from Arkansas who started the letter, defended it and said he wasn’t a traitor.

Obama and the leaders of several other nations are trying to find ways to get Iran to stop its efforts to obtain a nuclear bomb. It’s a reasonable quest.

Properly so, even some in the GOP didn’t agree to sign the letter, saying it could backfire on the party. It could make Iran more likely to sign a deal with Obama — one that the Republicans might not like at all.

The letter started out in a derogatory tone: “It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.”

And Iran responded in kind.

“In our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy,” Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said in a statement. “It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history.”

And Obama had perhaps the best take, saying, “It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran” who don’t want a deal.

To reach editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

  Comments