June 21st, 2009
12:05 PM ET
13 years ago

Senators weigh in on Iran

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A bipartisan group of four senators expressed support Sunday for the Iranians protesting in the country’s streets for the last week but differed over how the United States should react to the evolving 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.

“I think [President Obama’s] gotten it just right,” Casey told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “At this moment in the history of Iran, we should not politicize this issue here in the United States. The key thing here is striking the right balance – telling those who are protesting that we share their values but also making sure that we keep our eye on the ball here.”

After saying that Iran’s nuclear program is the biggest threat to American security and security in the Middle East, Casey said he thought the best approach to Iran was “to leave every option on the table,” including tough diplomacy and the possibility of sanctions against the Iranian regime.”

Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said notwithstanding the political unrest, the United States should sit down for diplomatic talks with Iran’s leaders if they were interested in high-level talks.

Filed under: Iran • State of the Union
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Ms. Johnson, Pearland,Texas

    John King's dislike for the President is so obvious. His leading questions and choice of adjectives today it was timid. He salivates when he gets a republican to bite. No one is trying to be in lock-step with any president but no person does everything wrong.

    CNN should check this coverage for a bias against President Obama.
    The show with Ed Henry, Dana Bash(John King's wife) was Obama bashing at it's worse.

    John King even tried to provoke negative comments from Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and the other pro-basketball panelist.

    He probably cannot help it having grown up in Boston.

    June 21, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. JonDie

    Idiots all! The US government backed Saddam Hussein against Iraq and Obama bin Laden against the Soviet Union...and both acts came back to bite our country hard.

    June 21, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. SF Serg

    When you can't beat the other person and you're out of ideas, you tear into them with venomous criticism. What else is new from the GOP?

    June 21, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. truthsayer

    Time to vote these Blue Dog Dems out of the Senate. They are not serving the people they are serving their corporate masters. It has to stop.!!!

    June 21, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
1 2 3