President Obama on Friday said he was “embarrassed” for the 47 GOP senators who signed an open letter to Iran over negotiations to halt its pursuit of nuclear weapons.


“I’m embarrassed for them,” Obama said in a video posted to YouTube by VICE News Friday. "For them to address a letter to the ayatollah, who they claim is our mortal enemy, and their basic argument to them is, ‘Don’t deal with our president because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement,’ that’s close to unprecedented.”
The clip previews Obama’s interview with VICE founder Shane Smith, which airs Monday on HBO. The president will also discuss climate change, college affordability, marijuana legalization and political gridlock during their conversation.

Freshman Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonOn The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Overnight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (R-Ark.) spearheaded the GOP’s efforts to inject Congress into negotiations with Tehran. The controversial message was sent Monday to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

Khamenei blasted the letter on Thursday, calling it proof of U.S. “deceit” and “backstabbing."

At issue is whether or not a deal between the Obama administration and Tehran will remain binding. The GOP’s letter vows Congress will void any agreement it finds unsatisfactory upon review.

The communication has drawn harsh criticism from Democrats. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Wednesday called it “reckless” and “hyperpartisan.” Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryGraham criticizes Trump canceling Pelosi trip as 'inappropriate’ Howard Dean to CNN: All Dem candidates qualified to be president except Tulsi Gabbard Not your ‘grandfather’s’ campaign: 2020 Dems look to stand out in crowded race MORE, meanwhile, said it was “irresponsible” and “flat wrong.”

Cotton refused to back down over his decision on Wednesday. He said the letter’s ultimate goal was preventing a dangerous and nuclear Iran.

“They’ve been killing Americans for years, they’ve killed hundreds of troops in Iran, now they control five capitols in the Middle East,” Cotton said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “They are nothing but hard-liners in Iran and if they do all those things without a nuclear weapon, imagine what they would do with one.”

The U.S. is hoping Iran will slow or stop producing nuclear materials in exchange for lifting sanctions. It is partnering with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia for discussions with Tehran.

The Obama administration is racing to outline a tentative deal by March 24, a self-imposed deadline. It is targeting June 30 for a final agreement.