Iran's supreme leader on Thursday said a letter sent by 47 Republican lawmakers to his government suggested the "internal disintegration" of the U.S. political system and the collapse of its "political ethics."
Speaking to the Assembly of Experts in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he had confidence in his nation's negotiating team as it seeks a deal with the United States and five other world powers on Iran's nuclear program. However, in the wake of the controversial letter, he expressed concern because "Americans are cunning and mischievous and they may stab from behind," the Fars news service reported.
The letter written by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and signed by 46 of his Republican colleagues warned the Iranian leader that the next U.S. president might revoke any deal the Iranians reach with the Obama administration.
The one-page "letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran" has drawn fire from the White House -- and many independent analysts -- as openly undercutting U.S. negotiations aimed at preventing the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon.
Khamenei said nations typically stick by their international commitments even after a change in government but that the GOP senators were declaring that an agreement would be "null and void after this government leaves office."
"Isn't this the ultimate degree of the collapse of political ethics and the U.S. system's internal disintegration?" he asked.
Khamenei said whenever talks near a deadline, as is the case later this month, "the tonality of the Americans gets harsher and more aggressive so as to achieve their goal. We should be vigilant."