He said that the letter contained “false information” and condemned it as “directly calculated to interfere.”
“The effect and the intent of the author was to basically say, ‘Don’t do this deal,'” Kerry said. “It’s like — you know — giving people a grade on a test before the test is even written, let alone given. It’s wrong, it’s unprecedented, and I hope it hasn’t made it very difficult here.”
He noted that this is not a negotiation just between the U.S. and Iran, and that China, Germany, France and Great Britain are also participating in these talks and that the United Nations is also, to some extent, an interested party in the talks.
“How do you clear the air,” asked Margaret Brennan, a CBS news correspondent, “are you going to apologize for this letter?”
“Not on your life,” Kerry said.
“I’m not going to apologize for the unconstitutional, un-thought-out action by somebody who’s been in the United States Senate for 60-something days,” he said, referring to the primary author of the letter Tom Cotton, the freshman Senator from Arkansas.
“I will explain very clearly that Congress does not have the right to change an executive agreement,” he continued. “Another president may have a different view about it. But, if we do our job correctly, all of these nations, they all have an interest in making sure this is in fact a proven peaceful program.”
Kerry said that he had talked to Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) who did not sign the letter but who has expressed his concern over the involvement of the U.N.
“I talked to him about it the other day and made it clear we are negotiating under the auspices, to some degree, of the United Nations,” he said. “So just as Congress has to vote to lift sanctions, so Congress does have the vote, so does the United Nations have to lift some sanctions at some point in time.”
Watch the interview in the video below.