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Bombastic debate sparked by GOP Senators' letter to Iran




Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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Democrats are outraged over an open letter sent yesterday by 47 Senate Republicans to the government of Iran.  

The letter warns that Congress would have to ratify any nuclear treaty, and that a mere agreement with President Obama could be tossed aside by his successor. Vice President Joe Biden released a statement in reaction: "In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which senators wrote directly to advise another country - much less a longtime foreign adversary - that the president does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them."

The Republican letter was written by freshman Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas.  He defended the action this morning on MSNBC saying, "We're making sure that Iran's leaders understand that if Congress doesn't approve a deal, Congress won't accept a deal."

Did the 47 Senate Republicans go too far in expressing their opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran, or was this a principled stand against a potentially dangerous deal? How risky is the letter diplomatically? Is the letter in violation of the presidency's constitutional authority?

Guests:

Michael Warren, Staff Writer, The Weekly Standard

Jim Walsh, expert in international security and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program