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Obama calls Republican letter on Iran "somewhat ironic"

Monday, March 09, 2015 - 00:40

President Obama says it was ''somewhat ironic'' that Republican senators warned Iran about a potential nuclear deal with the U.S. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Speaking to reporters before meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk, President Barack Obama said it was "somewhat ironic" that Republican senators warned Iran about a potential nuclear deal with the United States, calling it "an unusual coalition" between Republicans and "Iran hard-liners." "I think what we're going to focus on right now is actually seeing if we can get a deal or not. And once we do, if we do then we'll be able to make the case to the American people and I'm confident we'll be able to implement it," Obama said. Republican U.S. senators warned Iran's leaders on Monday that any nuclear deal with President Obama could last only as long as he remains in office, an unusual partisan intervention into foreign policy that could undermine delicate international talks with Tehran. The open letter was signed by 47 senators, all but seven of the Republicans in the Senate, and none of Obama's fellow Democrats, who called it a "stunt." It says Congress plays a role in ratifying international agreements and points out that Obama will leave office in January 2017. They said they would consider any deal merely "an executive agreement" if it is not approved by Congress. "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," the letter read. A White House spokesman called the letter a continuation of a partisan strategy seeking to undermine Obama's ability to conduct foreign policy. He said it "certainly interferes" in efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran. The Iranian Students' News Agency quoted Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as saying: "It is propaganda and has no legal value ... Change of the government does not mean cancellation of that country's international legal obligations." A Western diplomat said the action was "without precedent." "It's 100 percent an American issue, but obviously it could become a real problem," the diplomat said.

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Obama calls Republican letter on Iran "somewhat ironic"

Monday, March 09, 2015 - 00:40