Obama nominees suggest consistency with Bush on Iran


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two of President Barack Obama’s nominees outlined Iran policies consistent with those of the Bush administration.

Adm. Dennis Blair, Obama’s pick for director of intelligence, said in remarks prepared for his Senate confirmation hearings that the United States should reach out to sympathetic actors in Iran, consistent with the Bush administration’s policies of cultivating Iranians who oppose the theocracy.

"While policymakers need to understand anti-American leaders, policies and actions in Iran, the intelligence community can also help policymakers identify and understand other leaders and political forces, so that it is possible to work toward a future in both our interests," Blair said, according to Reuters in a report Thursday.

Obama’s Treasury pick, Timothy Geithner, praised his Bush administration predecessors for their efforts to isolate Iran’s financial system in a bid to end the Islamic Republic’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

"If confirmed as secretary of the Treasury, I would consider the full range of tools available to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including unilateral measures, to prevent Iran from misusing the financial system to engage in proliferation and terrorism," he wrote in Senate testimony according to AFP, the French news service. "I agree wholeheartedly that the Department of the Treasury has done outstanding work in ratcheting up the pressure on Iran, both by vigorously enforcing our sanctions against Iran and by sharing information with key financial actors around the world about how Iran’s deceptive conduct poses a threat to the integrity of the financial system."

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