White House rebukes GOP senators on Iran

White House Chief of Staff, Dennis McDonough, dispatched a letter cautioning the GOP on the hazards of interfering with ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear potential.  The White House letter was sent as a pointed reminder to the GOP Senate that drafting legislation to compel President Obama to submit an agreement with Iran for ratification is injuring delicate negotiations with Tehran. Earlier this week, the White House declared any measure would meet a presidential veto.

McDonough’s letter read:

We believe that the legislation would likely have a profoundly negative impact on the ongoing negotiations – emboldening hard-liners, inviting a counter-productive response from the Iranian majiles; differentiating the U.S. position from our allies in the negotiations; and once again calling into question our ability to negotiate this deal.”

It has been an acrimonious week in Washington.

According to the White House, the GOP Senate’s reckless meddling has jeopardized the prospect for concluding an agreement with Tehran, which would systematically lift sanctions in exchange for the formal assurance that Tehran would freeze its nuclear program for a 10-year period.  The White House, while evading extolling the virtues of the nuclear framework with Iran, chose to scold the Senate and accused the GOP of attempting to tilt the negotiations.

The Senate, a possible crucible of rebellion against the impending agreement with Iran, views any agreement with Iran as one with ruinous consequences, a threat to U.S.-Israeli relations, lacking crucial safeguards for compliance, a weak agreement advanced to realize détente, a result of blackmail by Tehran and a blueprint with dubious global benefits.

Of no less important consequences, it’s worth mentioning, despite pleas and Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress, Israeli elections are impending and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are recoiling at a nuclear Iran.  Through proxies, Iran has expressed hegemony in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Bahrain; similarly, Iran has seized disputed islands claimed by the UAE and is deeply influential with Iraqi forces engaged in a nasty fight with ISIS.

There is no rationale for this: Instead of reproving with equity, the White House engaged in the same petty point scoring the GOP was involved with last week. While problems metastasize in the Middle East, childish behavior stubbornly prevails in Washington. Washington, once a dignified environment, has been replaced with a carnival atmosphere as our allies are racked with anxiety and our enemies rejoice over the partisan bickering and use it as a lever in negotiations.

This should come as a surprise to no one.

[Reuters] [Wall Street Journal]