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Sen. Tom Cotton Calls Out ‘Cowardly’ Iranian Foreign Minister on Twitter

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is firing back at comments from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif about sanctions. In a statement posted on his Senate website, and followed by a series of sharply worded tweets, Cotton goes so far as to call Zarif “cowardly.”

In his statement, Cotton noted that President Barack Obama had “promised sanctions would only be lifted when Iran’s compliance with restrictions on their nuclear program were verified.” However, Zarif has contradicted Obama, issuing his own statement that mentioned Cotton, who had led a group of 47 Senators to sign a letter opposing the deal with Iran unless it was ratified by Congress:

If we have an agreement on the 30th of June, within a few days after that, there will be a resolution before the UN Security Council under Article 41 of Chapter 7 which will be mandatory for all member states whether Senator Cotton likes it or not.

Cotton came right back at Zarif, saying that the controversy was not about him, but what would “keep America safe from a nuclear-armed Iran,” and attacking the comments by Zarif and other Iranian officials as “demonstrat[ing] why Iran cannot be trusted:”

Sanctions relief isn’t about what I like, but what will keep America safe from a nuclear-armed Iran. But I suspect Foreign Minister Zarif is saying what President Obama will not because the President knows such terms would be unacceptable to both Congress and the American people. The repeated provocative statements made by members of the Iranian leadership demonstrate why Iran cannot be trusted and why the President’s decision to pursue this deal and grant dangerous concessions to Iran was ill-advised from the beginning. These aren’t rhetorical tricks aimed at appealing to hard-liners in Iran; after all, Mr. Zarif was speaking in English in New York. Rather, they foreshadow the dangerous posture Iran will take and has taken repeatedly—including as recently as yesterday with the interception of a U.S.-affiliated cargo ship—if this deal moves forward.

More, they reaffirm the need for Congress to approve any final deal and to conduct oversight over the Obama Administration’s actions. As we consider the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, I urge my colleagues to ensure we pass legislation strong enough to stop a bad deal in its tracks and protect the American people from a nuclear Iran.

The Senator then took to Twitter to address Zarif personally, challenging him to come to Washington, D.C. to “debate Iran’s record of tyranny, treachery, & terror” but mocking Zarif’s “cowardly character,” as exhibited by how he “hid in US during Iran-Iraq war while peasants & kids were marched to die.”

Cotton left his law practice after the September 11, 2001 attacks to serve in the United States Army. He served nearly five years on active duty as an Infantry Officer, including two combat tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and in Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and Ranger Tab for his service.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.


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