After extensive infighting in the U.S. Senate in which a small group of hardliners attempted to derail the Iran legislation, the Senate voted 98-1 in favor of the bipartisan bill that gives the U.S. Congress a chance to express its view on the final nuclear accord between Iran and the United States. “The lone vote against the bill was cast by Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas.” It is useful to remember that a month ago 46 Republican senators signed a letter coordinated by Tom Cotton that attempted to derail the nuclear negotiations with Iran. Today, Tom Cotton was alone in his vote.
The latest mid-term elections in the United States has led to a Republican majorities in both the Senate and the House. Although this change of power in U.S. Senate could lead to Republicans demanding a a more hawkish foreign policy, particularly with respect to Iran, the current nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States and the Europeans has gone too far to be reversed now. Of course, with a Nov. 24th deadline looming on the nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1, the negotiators enter the last month of negotiations with an urgency to complete a deal before this deadline. Both President Obama and President Rouhani have bet a huge amount on the success of a nuclear deal with Iran, and long-term engagement that will lead to normalization of relations between Iran and the United States. They have invested a lot to risk a failure, and the stakes could not have been higher for the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The urgency of reaching a nuclear deal with Iran, and the conflict with ISIS were the focus of another secret letter from President Obama to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his fourth letter to Khamenei since 2008.
Carl Levin and Angus King write a piece in the New York Times’ opinion page and argue against their hardline colleagues in the Senate who want to undermine the nuclear deal with Iran.