The bill to give the US Congress “veto power” over the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran was already a recipe for killing the negotiations. A flurry of amendments aimed at making the bill even more hostile toward diplomacy, however, is setting off a fight and threatens to derail the entire bill.
Senate hawks Tom Cotton (R – AK) and Marco Rubio (R – FL) are driving a series of efforts to force immediate votes on some of those most contentious amendments, including Rubio’s demand that Iran endorse Israel as a Jewish state, and Cotton’s demand that Iran agree to give inspectors unrestricted access to the entire country, and not just its nuclear program, as conditions for the deal.
Rubio in particular was furious that the Israel bill wasn’t at the front of the line for votes, despite AIPAC openly opposing it, and claimed votes against the bill were votes against Israel’s right to exist.
Ironically, while the White House had been resigned to a veto-proof majority of the bill, and had promised to sign it, these crazier amendments are scaring off parts of that majority, and also renewing veto threats against the bill itself.
In between visits to Congress to rail at Senate Democrats for not endorsing his amendments, Sen. Cotton also picked a fight with Iran’s Foreign Minister on Twitter, claiming all Iranians to have a “cowardly character” because FM Javad Zarif wasn’t living in Iran at the time of the Iran-Iraq War.