“To the best of my knowledge, there has been no interference with the election. There has been no manipulation of people following the election,” Feinstein, the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
“These questions have been asked as late as this past week of people in the clandestine operations who would know this – in a formal setting – and that’s the answers we were given,” the California Democrat added.
Asked about past American intelligence failures in Iraq, Feinstein expressed some misgivings about U.S. intelligence on Iran.
“I don’t think our intelligence – candidly - is that good. I think it’s a very difficult country in which to collect intelligence right now. I think our ability to get in there and change the course of human events is very low . . .”
After saying she thought President Obama was handling the situation appropriately, Feinstein also said it was important that the U.S. not be perceived as interfering in Iran’s political situation.
California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Iran’s leadership “threw the gauntlet to the people, essentially.”
“When there was a way out for the Supreme Leader,” by voiding the recent election and calling for a new one, Feinstein said, “instead, what you have is a total put-down by the leadership of what began as a legitimate protest which has now turned into much more than that because of the brutality that the regime has shown to its people.”
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley joined a chorus of fellow Republicans who have criticized how President Obama is responding to the political unrest in Iran.
“I believe we could be more forceful than we have,” Grassley said. “If America stands for democracy and all of these demonstrations are going on in Tehran and other cities over there and the people don’t think that we really care, then obviously they’re going to question: do we really believe in our principles?”
Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. Bob Casey, a longtime Obama supporter, disagreed.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The cost of health care reform has caused "sticker shock," a leading Democratic senator conceded Sunday.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week" program, Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of health care bills proposed so far showed they were more expensive than originally believed.
Asked about sticker shock from the $1.6 trillion price tag, Dodd said "we all" have it.
"We've got to obviously have better numbers than the ones we've seen," Dodd said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – After a week of political protests by Iranians calling into question the legitimacy of the country's leadership, a leading U.S. Republican said Sunday that the United States should still engage in diplomatic dialogue with the Middle Eastern nation.
"We would sit down because our objective is to eliminate the nuclear program that is in Iran," Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.
But Lugar, ranking Republican on the foreign relations committee, also said he believes Iranian interest in high-level talks with the U.S. is "totally improbable."
"The reason is: This regime now is under fire," Lugar told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "This is not a stable regime in which two people suddenly sit down with the United States. They may not be able to impose their will."
Lugar also said the unrest may open a door for the United States.
"We really have to get into the nuclear weapons. We have to get into terrorism of Iran in other areas of the Middle East. Now we have new opportunity in which we might very well say, 'We want communication with Iran. We want openness of the press. We don't want to have to use Twitter. We want the press on the ground.'"
"In order to have any kind of a relationship, we need to be able to talk to people, hear from people, argue with people," Lugar added.
Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - They agreed on wanting regime change in Iran, but leading Republican and Democratic senators disagreed Sunday on what role the United States should play in tying to make that happen.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week" program, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut both said they'd like to see the current Iranian government fall.
"Absolutely," Graham said, while Dodd said he would "love to see a different regime in Iran."
"Who wouldn't?" Dodd continued. "My lord, what's going on there for the last 30 years has been a disaster for the people in Iran."
However, Graham criticized President Barack Obama for failing to take a stronger public stance in favor of demonstrators protesting the announced result of the June 12 election that authorities said re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"The president of the United States is supposed to lead the free world, not follow it," Graham said.
He called Obama's statement Saturday for Iran to halt its violent crackdown on protesters the right step, but complained that the president has been "timid and passive more than I would like."
Dodd responded that Obama was taking the correct tone.
"The worst thing we could do at this moment for … these protesters, these courageous people in Tehran, is allow the government there to claim that this is a U.S.-led opposition, a U.S.-led demonstration," he said.
(CNN) - Israel and most of the world want regime change in Iran, but the main objective is to prevent the current Iranian leadership from developing a nuclear weapon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
Appearing on the NBC news show "Meet The Press," Netanyahu said a nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize the Middle East and threaten the entire world by triggering an arms race and supplying catastrophic weapons to terrorists.
"The goal is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said, adding that most governments in the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere agreed. "We all don't want to see this regime acquiring nuclear weapons.… It's not merely an interest of Israel."
U.S. President Barack Obama is as committed as his predecessor to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power, Netanyahu said.
"It's my view that there's an American commitment to make sure that doesn't happen," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama called Saturday for the Iranian government to refrain from violence and injustice against its own citizens.
"The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching," Obama said in a White House statement. "We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people."
He said the United States stands with all who seek to exercise what he called the universal rights to assembly and free speech.
The statement came as Iranian security forces cracked down Saturday on demonstrators in Tehran in continuing protests against the outcome of Iran's June 12 election.