Secretary of State John Kerry left for Switzerland to meet with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to find an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program despite facing objections from 47 of 54 Republican Senators who signed a letter on Monday, warning Iran’s leaders that any nuclear agreement signed with President Obama would only last until he remained in office.
The letter has set off a firestorm of reactions from all sides of the political aisle with harshest criticism coming from the Obama administration.
The debate comes down to the legal parameters that exist between the president and the Senate in approving an executive agreement between world powers that lifts sanctions.
The world powers that are meeting over Iran’s nuclear program include Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany and Iran.
The world powers are in talks to establish a United Nations Security Council resolution to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for placing restrictions around Iran’s nuclear program.
If the joint U.N resolution is approved, a post- Obama Congress would have a difficult time nullifying an approved resolution on grounds of a change in U.S. leadership, as the 47 Republican Senators claimed in their letter to Iran’s leadership.
“My reaction to the letter was utter disbelief” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday during a Senate hearing when commenting about the controversial letter.
“They don’t have the right to modify an agreement reached, executive to executive, between countries…..between leaders of a country” Kerry said.
A future agreement with Iran will still include a role for Congress in approving the deal since Congress must first approve the lifting of U.S. sanctions.
Many Republicans are still hesitant about lifting of sanctions without stronger measures undertaken to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program won’t be used to develop nuclear weapons, even though the current deal on the table does include some security enforcement.