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Iran

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  1. Iran Main Page
  2. Iran Becomes a Theocracy with Islamic Revolution
  3. U.S. and Iran Sever Ties Amid Hostage Crisis
  4. Khatami Attempts to Liberalize Nation
  5. Iran Taunts World With Nuclear Ambitions
  6. Ahmadinejad Elected President
  7. Iran Continues Progress on Nuclear Technology
  8. Presidential Election Thrusts Iran into Crisis
  9. Leaked Cables Show Arab Countries Wary of Iran
  10. Experts Fear Iran Will Exploit Tumult in Middle East
  11. Advances in Nuclear Program Lead to Additional Sanctions
  12. Relationship with Israel Reaches Critical Point
  13. Centrist Elected President of Iran; Reaches Out to West with a Charm Offensive
  14. Iran Agrees to Scale Back Nuclear Program, but Deal Remains Elusive
  15. Iran Contributes to the Fight Against ISIS
  16. U.S. Senators Warn Iranian Officials Against Signing Nuclear Deal
U.S. Senators Warn Iranian Officials Against Signing Nuclear Deal

In March 2015, as Iran appeared to be close to signing a 10-year accord that would scale back its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, 47 U.S. Republican senators signed an open letter to Iranian officials saying the agreement could be reversed "with the stroke of a pen" by President Obama's successor. The letter, written by freshman senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, sparked outrage among Democrats, who said the move, which was without precedent, undermined Obama's foreign policy. "This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that our commander in chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments—a message that is as false as it is dangerous," said Vice President Joe Biden. President Obama bitterly said, "It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran. It’s an unusual coalition."

Some Republicans denounced the missive. "I just didn't think it was productive during this time when there are very tough negotiations going on," Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, said on CNN. "They're tough enough without introducing this element."

Days before Cotton published his letter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the U.S. Congress in an effort to sway the Obama administration against continuing negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons. Netanyahu called the negotiations to get Iran to freeze its nuclear program "a bad deal." In his speech, he said the deal that the Obama administration wanted "could well threaten the survival of my country" because it would not prevent Iran from having and using nuclear weapons. To the contrary, he said, the deal "will all but guarantee" nuclear arms in Iran. The speech generated controversy in the U.S. because House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the Obama administration, a breach of protocol.

Iranian officials dismissed the letter and continued the negotiations, "In our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy," said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

See also Encyclopedia: Iran .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Iran

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