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Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

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Congressional rept.

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According to the Administrations National Security Strategy released on March 16, 2006, the United States may face no greater challenge from a single country than Iran. That perception intensified following the military confrontation between Iranian-armed and assisted Lebanese Hezbollah and Israel in July-August 2006. To date, the Bush Administration has pursued several avenues to attempt to contain the potential threat posed by Iran. However, the Administrations focus on preventing an Iranian nuclear weapons breakthrough has brought diplomatic strategy to the forefront of U.S. policy. As part of that effort, the Bush Administration announced May 31 it would negotiate with Iran in concert with U.S. allies if Iran suspends uranium enrichment in past years the Bush Administration had only limited dialog with Iran on specific regional issues. However, Iran did not comply with an August 31, 2006, deadline to cease uranium enrichment as per U.N. Security Council Resolution 1696 July 31, 2006, dividing the United States and partner countries over whether to continue diplomacy with Iran and whether to move to impose international sanctions on it. If diplomacy and sanctions do not succeed, some advocate military action against Irans nuclear infrastructure rather than acquiescence to a nuclear-armed Iran. Others in the Administration believe that only a change of Irans regime would end the threat posed by Iran. Irans nuclear program is not the only major U.S. concern with Iran. Successive administrations have pointed to the threat to the United States and its allies posed by Irans policy in the Near East region, particularly material support to groups that use violence to prevent Israeli-Arab peace. Such groups have long included Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. U.S. officials also accuse Iran of attempting to exert influence in Iraq by providing arms and other material assistance to Shiite Islamist militias.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare
  • Nuclear Weapons

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