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Iranian FM Javad Zarif Trolls Sen. Tom Cotton On the Occasion of His Child’s Birth

It's the latest spat in a public feud between the Arkansas senator and the leadership of Iran.


Ever since international negotiators announced a framework nuclear agreement earlier this month, the Senate’s current uber-hawk, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, has been waging a very public campaign to kill the deal. And it just keeps on backfiring — most recently in a hilarious exchange with Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, that saw Tehran’s top diplomat offer the gentlest, most brutal of putdowns.

After orchestrating a public letter, signed by 47 senators, to the leaders of Iran arguing that any sanctions relief would have to be approved by Congress, Cotton has emerged as the most prominent hard-line voice agitating against a nuclear deal with Tehran. But in remarks in New York Thursday, Zarif tried to sideline Cotton, saying that the United Nations would be primary avenue for sanctions relief, “whether Sen. Cotton likes it or not.”

That apparently struck quite the nerve with Cotton, who demanded that Zarif come to Washington for a debate on the Constitution.

As we’ve written about here at Foreign Policy, Cotton’s public campaign against the deal has been beset by problems. After unveiling his letter to Iran’s leaders about sanctions relief, Cotton faced intense criticism that he had undermined President Barack Obama’s authority to conduct U.S. foreign policy. To add insult to injury, the Farsi version of his public letter read like a middle schooler had written it.

It’s almost enough to feel sorry for Cotton. The Arkansas senator does, however, have quite the adorable child to go home to:

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Elias Groll is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @EliasGroll

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