Sen. Sullivan: Letter To Tehran to ‘Enlighten Iranian Leadership’

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U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan is among 47 Republican senators who signed a letter to Iran’s leadership Monday. The letter concerns President Obama’s negotiations for a deal to halt Iran’s nuclear program without involving Congress. It warns Iran that the next president could reverse any executive deal between leaders “with the stroke of a pen.”

Greta Van Susteren  on Fox News, told Sullivan the letter “looks bad,” like the Republican senators are making an end-run around the president.

Sen. Sullivan: “Well it’s not end-running to the Iranians. What’s going on here is that you’ve seen – the president obviously is telling the Iranians and John Kerry is telling the Iranians that Congress doesn’t need to be involved.

Greta Van Susteren: “And I think he’s wrong.”

Sen. Sullivan: “And I think he’s wrong, too. And what we were doing is we were trying to enlighten the Iranian leadership on what happens if Congress is not involved.”

Sullivan later said the bottom-line goal is to get the president to bring any agreement to Congress for a vote.

The White House says the letter undermines the president and is an attempt to push the U.S. into another military conflict. Alaska’s senior senator, Lisa Murkowski, is one of seven Republicans in the Senate who did not sign the letter.

“I looked at it and said, ‘I don’t need to sign on to it because I have already kind of outlined my position, which is that Congress needs to have a role,'” Murkowski explained.

She supports a bill by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker that would ensure Congress has the final say on an Iran deal. That will require substantial Democratic votes to overcome a veto. Murkowski says she doesn’t know if the Republican letter to Iran is appropriate or not.

“Well, I’ll be honest with you. I’ve been around the Senate for a while now. You don’t often have letters from members of a body direct to the head of another government,” she said. “Typically it’s executive to executive, legislative body to legislative body. So I did think it was unusual in that regard.”

In Iran, the letter was dismissed as a propaganda ploy. Iran’s U.S.-educated foreign minister said in a written statement that any deal would be governed by international law, which he says would bind the next president to uphold deals made by his predecessor.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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