Tom Cotton, Vindicated, Takes On Zarif

Scott wrote earlier today about Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif’s insulting speech at New York University. While generally expressing contempt for the United States, Zarif dismissed Congress’s role in any agreement the Obama administration might forge with Iran:

Zarif also took several shots at the U.S. Senate, just as it debated amendments to a bill designed to slow the lifting of sanctions against Iran and give Congress an oversight role on the deal.

“As a foreign government, I only deal with the U.S. government. I do not deal with Congress,” Zarif said. “The responsibility of bringing that into line falls on the shoulders of the president of the United States. That’s the person with whom we are making an agreement.” …

“He will have to stop implementing all the sanctions, economic and financial sanctions that have been executive order and congressional. However he does it, that’s his problem,” Zarif said. “The resolution will endorse the agreement, will terminate all previous resolutions including all sanctions, will set in place the termination of EU sanctions and the cessation of applications of all U.S. sanctions.”

The U.S. would have to endorse this resolution “whether Senator Cotton likes it or not,” Zarif said….

Zarif denied that a future U.S. president could revoke the Obama administration’s executive agreement:

“The American president is bound by international law, whether they like it or not. And international law requires the United States live up to any agreement this government enters into,” he said. “You know that, maybe Senator Cotton doesn’t.”

Zarif’s attitude vindicates the wisdom of the open letter that Tom Cotton and 46 other Senators published, and highlights the necessity for Congressional oversight. I honestly have no idea what the Obama administration is trying to accomplish in its negotiations with Iran. I can’t see any rational basis on which Obama and Kerry can believe they are advancing the interests of the United States. But a future president most certainly can extricate the U.S. from a disastrous executive agreement, assuming it is not too late. And Congress can exercise its authority under the Constitution in a variety of ways, including voting to re-impose sanctions.

Senator Cotton responded to Zarif rapidly on Twitter, taking note not only of Zarif’s ill-informed comments on American law, but also of his preening with regard to Iran’s human rights record. Here, via Twitchy, are Senator Cotton’s tweets:

Tom Cotton is a throwback to the days when our leaders were pro-America, and knew what country’s citizens they were representing. That isn’t a very high bar, admittedly, but these days it is enough to elevate a leader above the Obama administration. Cotton sets a standard much higher than that.

Oh, one more thing: Congratulations, Tom, on the birth of your son Gabriel. The world needs more Cottons!


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