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 CottonTom Bryant CottonCotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics Overnight Defense: Top admiral shoots back at criticism of 'woke' military | Military guns go missing | New White House strategy to battle domestic extremism Top admiral shoots back at criticism of 'woke' military: 'We are not weak' 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 KerryIn Europe, Biden seeks to reassert U.S. climate leadership Climate progressives launch first action against Biden amid growing frustration What US policymakers can glean from Iceland's clean energy evolution 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.