Ayatollah pans GOP's 'backstabbing' letter

Ayatollah pans GOP's 'backstabbing' letter
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Iran’s supreme leader cried betrayal Thursday over a letter signed by 47 GOP Senators declaring they could void any nuclear deal between Tehran and the U.S.

Reuters reported that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was infuriated by the message sent to his nation Monday. It vowed that Congress would analyze and reserve the right to undo any agreement ending sanctions in exchange for halting  nuclear enrichment.

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“Of course I am worried, because the other side is known for opacity, deceit and backstabbing,” Khamenei reportedly told Iran’s Mehr News Agency. “Every time we reach a stage where the end of negotiations is in sight, the tone of the other side, specifically the Americans, becomes harsher, coarser and tougher. This is the nature of their tricks and deceptions.”

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonHow not to withdraw from Syria Romney sworn in as senator Trump’s shifting Cabinet to introduce new faces MORE (R-Ark.) led the charge on drafting and sending the controversial letter. The freshman senator on Tuesday said it was a necessary reminder to Iran that many U.S. lawmakers want its nuclear weapons capabilities completely dismantled.

“They’ve been killing Americans for 35 years. They’ve killed hundreds of troops in Iran. Now, they control five capitals 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 White House on Tuesday harshly condemned the missive. President Obama has made reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran a major priority of his administration.

“We feel this was a blatant, flagrant and partisan attempt to interfere with the negotiations,” spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Congressional Democrats have also panned the letter. Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidOvernight Defense: Trump rejects Graham call to end shutdown | Coast Guard on track to miss Tuesday paychecks | Dems eye Trump, Russia probes | Trump talks with Erdogan after making threat to Turkey's economy Harry Reid on Iraq War vote: 'It tainted my heart' Harry Reid urges senators to push for more UFO research MORE (D-Nev.) on Monday accused its signers of helping Iran’s hard-liners.

“Republicans are undermining our commander in chief while empowering the ayatollahs,” he said from the Senate floor. “We should always have robust debate about foreign policy, but it’s unprecedented for one political party to directly intervene in an international negotiation with the sole goal of embarrassing the president of the United States.”

The U.S. is one of six powers dealing with Iran, including Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. The so-called P5+1 nations will resume talks with Tehran in Lausanne, Switzerland, next week.

The Obama administration is racing to meet a self-imposed March 24 outline with Iran for a deal. The deadline for a final agreement is June 30.