• Al Jazeera gets it right !! Bottom of this diary. – – –

First the obvious: negotiations with Iran are a multinational process. This is not an American treaty. No way, no how.

The five Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France (the “P5”) — have been talking for several years with Iran plus adding Germany (“P5+1.”)

What the GOP47 do not understand begins with every part of the U.N.'s administration of the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968. Their ignorance is a mystery.

This is the NPT. This is the document that provides the international legal structure under which nuclear weapons agreements for non-weapons States/countries are negotiated, approved and implemented. All such NPT actions are taken through the United Nations. The U.N. Security Council is the sovereign body for NPT-connected approval votes and for NPT-related actions.

The GOP47 do not understand the basics. Not a lick of it.

The level of their incompetence raises issues. How can so many United States Senators, many of them lawyers, take leave of competence?

Has something happened to them? Is something strange afoot? NPT is simple enough for children to understand it. Our high schools teach the basic concepts every year.

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. On 11 May 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely.  A total of 190 parties have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States.

This is the United Nations. 100%. There is no way a “P5+1” Iranian deal goes through the U.S. Senate. This will be voted on as a Security Council Resolution, not an American-Iranian treaty.
Every American with a high school diploma has been taught the difference.

It is tempting to conclude that the GOP47 are idiots. Either that or, let's face it, we could be in the throes of a Hollywood blockbuster. We could be looking at an alien invasion. I pray not to alarm you. But have the little white worms from “Men in Black” invaded the Senate? If not, why not?

The Worms
It has come to our attention (as worms) while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.  Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution—the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices—which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.

First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote.  A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate). Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.

Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics.  For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms.  As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades.

What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.

We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our earthy constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.

Sincerely,
     

   Senator Tom Cotton, R-AR
    Senator Orrin Hatch, R-UT  
    Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA      
    Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY      
    Senator Richard Shelby, R-AL        
    Senator John McCain, R-AZ
    Senator James Inhofe, R-OK          
    Senator Pat Roberts, R-KS  
    Senator Jeff Sessions, R-AL  
    Senator Michael Enzi, R-WY
    Senator Michael Crapo, R-ID          
    Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC      
    Senator John Cornyn, R-TX            
    Senator Richard Burr, R-NC
    Senator John Thune, R-SD  
    Senator Johnny Isakson, R-GA
    Senator David Vitter, R-LA  
    Senator John A. Barrasso, R-WY    
    Senator Roger Wicker, R-MS          
    Senator Jim Risch, R-ID
    Senator Mark Kirk, R-IL      
    Senator Roy Blunt, R-MO    
    Senator Jerry Moran, R-KS
    Senator Rob Portman, R-OH          
    Senator John Boozman, R-AR          
    Senator Pat Toomey, R-PA  
    Senator John Hoeven, R-ND
    Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL  
    Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI
    Senator Rand Paul, R-KY
    Senator Mike Lee, R-UT      
    Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH
    Senator Dean Heller, R-NV  
    Senator Tim Scott, R-SC      
    Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX      
    Senator Deb Fischer, R-NE  
    Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV        
    Senator Bill Cassidy, R-LA    
    Senator Cory Gardner, R-CO          
    Senator James Lankford, R-OK      
    Senator Steve Daines, R-MT
    Senator Mike Rounds, R-SD
    Senator David Perdue, R-GA          
    Senator Thom Tillis, R-NC  
    Senator Joni Ernst, R-IA      
    Senator Ben Sasse, R-NE    
    Senator Dan Sullivan, R-AK

– – – – – – – – – – – – –
March 9, 2015

This “open letter” is fundamentally miscast. The GOP47 must needs claim ignorance that the Security Council is the body that manages NPT compliance.
The Worms adopt a tone of arrogance. They lecture Iran and the world. Face it: the GOP47 letter is absurd.

Never, ever, no way do United States Senators have veto power over actions taken by the United Nations Security Council. Same applies for United States Presidents, other than exercising the veto power within the Security Council during a vote.

The GOP47 do not understand that. Reading through their letter, I'm not betting here against the little white worm (LWW) hypothesis.