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Portman made mistake

Sen. Rob Portman’s name is one we didn’t expect to see on the letter meant to undercut ongoing nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran.

It’s bad enough that the letter, signed by 47 senators, diminishes the dignity of the Senate by disparaging the president and presenting an amateur lesson on U.S. governance by insisting any deal signed by President Obama is easily reversed.

It’s awful that the Iranians responded with cold calm, pointing out the letter’s factual flaws and insisting, rightly, that U.S. presidents have regularly and unilaterally approved such deals with foreign nations — deals their successors are loathe to break.

But worst of all, the senators’ breach of protocol gives Iran something to blame if it breaks off talks on a possible deal. Iran is unfriendly to the United States and its interests, but it is not unpredictable. It’s been pushed into the cold by tightened sanctions and its interests threatened by complex regional threats — think ISIS — it does not control…

Portman says he signed the letter because he supports…a better deal that will “stand the test of time.” We’d suggest he communicate his feelings directly to the president of the United States rather than in an open letter to the leaders of Iran.

We think highly of Portman…In a sea of partisanship in Washington, Portman shows maturity and a willingness to reach across the aisle. But now, facing re-election, he’s nervous. Nervousness leads to mistakes.

Portman’s decision to sign the letter to Iran was a mistake.


The Cincinnati Enquirer