Dianne Feinstein on Iran
Senator Feinstein has stated that a nuclear Iran would be destabilizing for the region and has been a long time supporter of bold diplomacy to reign in that nuclear program. She has cautioned against a first strike policy and noted that a military invasion shoule not be a "plan B." She has supported some sanctions against Iran, but has not been a vocal supporter in all cases.
The Senator's view of Iran's status with respect to nuclear power has been unclear. In 2008 she cited a report by the NIE as proof that Iran abandoned its nuclear program in 2003 due to diplomatic pressure, but later cited IAEA reports indicating that Iran was close to a bomb.
She views Iran as an antagonist and destabilizer in the region, but opposes isolating the nation as a viable strategy for dealing with their policies. This is consistent with her overall foreign policy view which encourages extremely strong efforts using diplomacy and allies before considering military options. She has noted that Iran is not Iraq and the war there would be different.
Iran Nonproliferation Act
In 2000, Senator Feinstein supported the Iran Nonproliferation Act, stating that preventing the transfer of illegal nuclear and missile technology from Russia to Iran must be at the top of the U.S. policy agenda. The legislation provided both a stick and a carrot to encourage Russia to stop transferring technology to Iran. First, it required the President to report credible information about any foreign entity providing dangerous technologies to Iran and authorized the President to sanction those entities in accordance with a previous Executive Order. Second, it required that the President must certify that the Russian government opposes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to Iran and is taking steps to oppose such proliferation. Once this had been achieved, the quota for the Russian Space Agency launches would be increased with each launch representing approximately $100 million.
In 2006, Senator Feinstein responded to Iran's announcement that it had enriched Uranium by stating that she hoped that the Bush administration had learned from its previous mistakes in Iraq and that it would not initiate a preemptive strike. In speaking against a preemptive strike policy, Senator Feinstein noted that such a policy demands that our intelligence be right every time, and the policy may lead to a less stable world in general as our adversaries see the differences in our dealings with nuclear vs non-nuclear nations, and that an overreliance on preemption can lead to the downplaying of diplomacy. She noted that by the administration's own account, Iran is years away from possessing nuclear weapons; there is time to engage in forceful diplomatic action.
Senator Feinstein called for the US to engage Iran diplomatically and push for a complete halt to Iran's enrichment activities and full access to all nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency. If Iran refuses, international sanctions should be applied and inspections with U.N. forces if necessary.
Approval Before Strike
In November of 2007, Senator Feinstein was one of several Senators that sent a letter to the Bush administration asserting that no congressional authority existed for unilateral military action against Iran. She stated that Congress was ready to work with the President, but that he must seek approval. Senator Feinstein also co-sponsored legislation affirming this view.
In early 2008, Senator Feinstein wrote an op-ed discussing her view that bold diplomacy should be sought with Iran. She noted that negotiations should have three objectives: finding a way to deal with Iran's nuclear program, especially by reaching an agreement to put more arms inspectors on the ground to monitor the entire Iranian nuclear program; a major reduction or elimination of Iran's support for terrorists groups, including Hezbollah and Hamas; and establishing normalized relations with Iran.
These beliefs were mirrored later that year at a speech to the National Iranian American Council. The Senator noted that Iran constitutes both a present and future challenge to the stability and security of several concerned nations, that Iran was supplying weapons and tactical support to Shia militias, and that Iran was supporting terrorist organizations, particularly Hezbollah and Hamas. She then asserted that bold diplomatic efforts could pay off in the end. She pointed to a recent NIE report that found that Iran halted its nuclear program in 2003 and asserted that this may show that the country is more open to public pressure than previously thought. She called for similar objectives to as her previous op-ed.
In 2010, Senator Feinstein supported the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act as did all of Congress. Although she noted the Iran that a nuclear Iran posed, she also stated that Military action is not a ``Plan B''. She stated that a strike would likely only delay, not destroy, Iran's nuclear program and lead to more violence and instability in the region. She was especially critical of the idea of using nuclear bunker busters as a first strike option.
Response to IAEA Report
In November of 2011, the IAEA released a report that Senator Feinstein asserted provided an inescapable conclusion: Iran is, in fact, building the capability to produce nuclear weapons. She asserted that now was the time for Iran to answer the international community's concerns, to abide by its commitments and demonstrate to the world that it is not seeking a nuclear weapon.
Israel Will Strike
In March of 2012, Senator Feinstein appeared on CNN and stated that in her opinion, Israel was likely to strike Iran and was comfortable doing that on their own if the US would not assist. She also stated that intelligence reports indicated that Iran was a year or two away from obtaining the bomb and there UN should intervene with diplomacy.
Iran Non-Proliferation Act
In February of 2000, Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Iran Nonproliferation Act to prevent the transfer of missile technology from Russia to Iran.
In April of 2006, Senator Feinstein wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. She notes that a nuclear Iran would be destabilizing for the region, but cautions against the doctrine of preemptive strikes.
Support for Diplomacy Over Sanctions
In June of 2006, Senator Feinstein issued a press statement noting her vote to table an amendment to place more sanctions on Iran and her view that diplomacy was the best option to deal with a nuclear Iran.
President Must Seek Authority
In November of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a statement noting a letter that she and 29 other Senators had sent to President Bush. The letter stated that the President must seek Congressional authority before military action in Iran.
In February of 2008, Senator Feinstein wrote an article in the San Francisco Chronicle discussing the need for bold diplomacy with Iran.
CNN - Iran is Not Iraq
In April of 2008, Senator Feinstein appeared on CNN and discussed the situation in Iran. She asserted that Iran is not Iraq and that war there would be greatly different. She again called for diplomacy.
Breaking the Stalemate
In April of 2008, Senator Feinstein spoke at the National Iranian American Council. She discussed the need for a diplomatic solution for Iran and the conclusion of some reports that Iran had halted its nuclear program in 2003.
Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act
In June of 2010, Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act. She asserts that she is deeply concerned about Iran's uranium enrichment program and its refusal to abide by United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Response to IAEA Report
In November of 2011, Senator Feinstein issued a press statement noting her reaction to an IAEA report which asserted that Iran's nuclear program was continuing. She calls for Iran to answer the concerns about its program.
Israel Will Strike
On March 7, 2012 Senator Feinstein appeared on CNN with Erin Burnett and discussed Syria and Iran. In that discussion, Senator Feinstein asserted that Israel was likely to strike Iran and could do so on its own. However, she called upon the P5 plus one nations to push negotiations and stated that there was still time as Iran was a year to two years away from a nuclear weapon.
Diplomacy is Best Hope
In April of 2012, Senator Feinstein wrote an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle discussing the need for diplomacy with Iran.
Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009
In Jume of 2010, the Senate voted on legislation to enact sanctions on Iran's oil system hoping to force it to engage diplomatically on its nuclear program. The measure passed 99-0. Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009.
Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009.
Designating Revolutionary Guard as Terrorists
In September of 2007, the Senate voted on a resolution that expressed the sense of the Senate on six items. These items were that:
- that the manner in which the United States transitions and structures its military presence in Iraq will have critical long-term consequences for the future of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East
- that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq
- that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran
- to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies
- that the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, as established under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and initiated under Executive Order 13224
- that the Department of the Treasury should act with all possible expediency to complete the listing of those entities targeted under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 adopted unanimously on December 23, 2006 and March 24, 2007, respectively.
Critics of the measure called it saber rattling even though it passed by a wide margin. Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the resolution.
Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the resolution.
Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation
Condemns President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hateful and anti-Semitic statements regarding Israel and the Holocaust. Calls on all member states of the United Nations to publicly condemn President Ahmadinejad's statements as a violation of the principles of both the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
A resolution affirming that any offensive military action taken against Iran must be explicitly approved by Congress before such action may be initiated.
A bill to hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior and to support a transition to democracy in Iran.
A resolution calling on the President to condemn the anti-Israel sentiments expressed by the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on October 26, 2005.
A concurrent resolution condemning the Government of Iran for its flagrant violations of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and calling for certain actions in response to such violations.
Directs the President to report periodically to specified congressional committees on foreign persons (except those previously identified or sanctioned or subject to waiver) who, on or after August 8, 1995, have transferred, or attempted to transfer, controlled goods or technology, or provided, or attempted to provide, technical assistance or facilities that contributed, or would have contributed, to Iran's efforts to acquire, develop, or produce ballistic missiles. Requires imposition on such persons of minimum two-year sanctions prohibiting: (1) sales to such persons of items on the United States Munitions List (and terminating sales of any controlled U.S. arms); (2) the export to such persons of dual use goods and technology; and (3) the provision of U.S. financial assistance. Authorizes the President to waive such sanctions on the basis of additional information demonstrating that the sanctioned person did not commit the acts alleged.
Directs the President to impose certain credit sanctions against persons who, with actual knowledge, have made an investment of more than $40 million in any 12-month period that has significantly contributed to the development of petroleum resources in Iran.
Condemns the government of Iran's many failures to comply with its nuclear nonproliferation obligations, including its obligations under the Safeguards Agreement, its suspension commitments under the Paris Agreement, and prior commitments to the EU-3 to suspend all enrichment- and reprocessing-related activities. Commends the efforts of the governments of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to seek a credible suspension of Iran's enrichment- and reprocessing-related activities and to find a diplomatic means to address Iran's noncompliance with such obligations. Urges the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors at its February 2006 special meeting to order that Iran's noncompliance be reported to the U.N. Security Council. Calls on Security Council members, in particular the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, to consider any report of Iran's noncompliance in fulfillment of the Security Council's mandate to respond to situations bearing on international peace and security.
A resolution condemning in the strongest possible terms President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements regarding the State of Israel and the Holocaust and calling for all member States of the United Nations to do the same.
A resolution calling for free and fair elections in Iran, and for other purposes.
A bill to impose certain sanctions on foreign persons who transfer items contributing to Iran's efforts to acquire, develop, or produce ballistic missiles.