by Jim Lobe
A senior administration official told LobeLog Thursday night that the just-introduced Cardin bill, “The Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015,” offers a “good starting point for a discussion” with Congress, although the White House doesn’t agree with all of its provisions.
Although declining to be specific about the administration’s objections to the bill, the official, who insisted on not being identified by name, also indicated that the White House prefers to work out ways of ensuring the Israel’s security against any possible Iranian threat directly with the Israeli government rather than being directed by Congress to take certain steps in that regard.
“We appreciate the bill’s focus on enhancing our relationship with Israel and on expanding our efforts to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, and we very much share those goals,” according to the official. “We look forward to working with these senators as the legislative process moves forward.”
“We do not agree with everything in the legislation, but the bill provides a good starting point for a discussion, and we plan to address those issues in the weeks and months ahead,” the official added.
“As the president has said, we are prepared to discuss concrete ways we can further deepen our partnership going forward. We continue to believe that this dialogue should be between the administration and our Israeli allies, and any congressional action should be informed by that process,” according to the official. “As announced recently, the president will be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu in early November.”
“The president and Secretary Kerry have made clear that they are willing to work with Congress to find ways to enhance our security relationship with Israel and to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region,” according to the official who also noted that the administration has had “constructive conversations with Senator Cardin and the cosponsors of this bill, and we will continue to engage them and any others as the legislative process moves forward. We appreciated our discussions and look forward to continuing this dialogue.”