WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry sharply criticized a letter from Republican lawmakers to the leaders of Iran in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, calling it misleading and irresponsible.
“My reaction to the letter was utter disbelief,” said Mr. Kerry, who warned that the letter, signed by 47 Republican senators this week, could embolden Iranian hard-liners.
That letter warned that any agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that was not approved by Congress would not be legally binding and could be modified by lawmakers or even revoked by a future president.
The Obama administration has made it clear that it does not plan to seek congressional approval for the emerging nuclear accord, which is expected to last about 15 years and would remove economic sanctions in return for imposing constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.
Mr. Kerry, in his testimony, acknowledged that without a congressional vote the accord would not be “legally binding,” a main contention of the critics. But he said that there were many “executive agreements” in that category that were a “necessary tool of American foreign policy.”