More than 210 thousand people have signed a petition requesting White House press “treason” charges against 47 senators who wrote a letter to Iranian leaders claiming they would block any agreement about Iran’s nuclear program.
Since the petition got more than a 100 thousand signatures in less than a month, the White House is required to respond to it.
The petition claimed: “Forty-seven United States Senators committed a treasonous offense when they decided to violate the Logan Act, a 1799 law which forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.”
The letter sent to Iranian leaders on Monday warned the Iranian leaders that any deal with President Barack Obama would need to be ratified by the senate and could easily be overturned by the next president.
All 47 senators are from Republican Party including the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chair of Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain, and 2016 presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.
It is an unprecedented action in the US diplomatic history and draws harsh criticism from many politicians and media for violating traditional practices and undermining authority of United States president.
Although nobody has been indicted for violating Logan Act since 1803 and there is no conviction for it in the history, the petition is important to show the level of reaction from the public and the divisiveness of the letter.
Jerome Barron, a professor of Constitutional Law at George Washington University, claimed that it is very unlikely that the senators would be prosecuted because of the letter because they are technically a branch of the government, although he said the move is “disrespectful.”
Both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden criticised the senators for sending the letter as Obama mocked Republicans saying: “I think it's somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran.”