The story of the day on the Iran front is the publication of what its authors titled “An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
It was signed by forty-seven Republican senators led by freshman Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who, as reported by LobeLog, received nearly $1 million in advertising support from Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel in the closing days of last November’s campaign. The basic thrust of the letter is to warn the recipients that once President Barack Obama leaves office, any deal that he and his P5+1 partners may have reached with Iran regarding the latter’s nuclear program could be revoked “with the stroke of a pen.”
There are already lots of arguments breaking out over whether the basis of the letter was an accurate statement of US law.
One prominent Harvard law professor who also served as a top Justice Department official under George W. Bush, Jack Goldsmith, called at least one of the letter’s assertions about the ratification process “embarrassing.” It was especially embarrassing not only because Cotton graduated from Harvard Law School, but also because Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who earned an MA and PhD in international law at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver—Condoleezza Rice’s alma mater—felt compelled to correct Cotton’s understanding of Washington’s international legal obligations.
There is also a dispute over whether the letter constitutes a violation of the Logan Act, which says: