Over 159,000 Sign Petition Calling on Obama to Prosecute 47 GOP Senators Who Sent Letter to Iran on Nuclear Talks

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Iran during his meeting with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington March 3, 2015.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Iran during his meeting with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington March 3, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

More than 159,000 people have signed a petition calling on the White House to file charges against 47 GOP senators who sent a letter to Iran stating that any nuclear agreement between the Obama administration and the Islamic Republic would be null and void without support from Congress.

Posted on the website "We the People" on Monday, the petition claims that the GOP senators violated federal law when they sent the letter to Iran.

"Forty-seven senators saw fit to issue a condescending letter to the Iranian government stating that any agreement brokered by our president would not be upheld once the president leaves office,"

"This is a clear violation of federal law. In attempting to undermine our own nation, these 47 senators have committed treason."

The petition specifically cites the Logan Act, a piece of legislation from 1799 that forbids unauthorized U.S. citizens to negotiate with foreign governments.

Within two days of being posted, the petition garnered the necessary 100,000 signatories to receive an official response from the Obama administration.

On Monday, 47 Republican senators signed an open letter to the leadership of Iran informing them that Congress could invalidate any agreement between Obama and Iran over nuclear weapons talks.

"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 … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement," read the letter.

"Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics. For example, the president may serve only two four-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of six-year terms."

The open letter then noted that given those two provisions, "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," continued the letter.

The letter was yet another widely publicized move in the intense debate over the direction of talks with Iran over its nuclear program and possible nuclear weapons ambitions.

"While the possible agreement has drawn bipartisan criticism, the letter, signed only by Republicans, underscored the increasingly party-line flavor of the clash," concluded the New York Times.

"Just last week, the Republican House speaker, John A. Boehner, gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel the platform of a joint meeting of Congress to denounce the developing deal, and Senate Republicans briefly tried to advance legislation aimed at forcing Mr. Obama to submit it to Congress, alienating Democratic allies."

Online reaction to the open letter also included the phrase #47Traitors trending on the popular social media outlet Twitter.

As with other controversial petitions on the "We the People" site that have gotten the necessary number of names to have an official response, there is no set timetable for a reply.

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