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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Iran is subject to one of the most stringent U.S. sanctions regimes of any country in the world. Many of these sanctions overlap each other as well as the several U.N. sanctions imposed since 2006 because of Irans nuclear program development. A particular focus of legislation in the 110th and 111th Congress has been to expand the provisions of the Iran Sanctions Act ISA to apply to additional types of business with Iran. That law has caused differences of opinion between the United States and its European allies ever since its adoption in 1996 because it mandates U.S. imposition of sanctions on foreign firms. The Obama Administrations overall policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration by actively engaging Iran in negotiations on the nuclear issue, rather than focusing only on increasing sanctions on Iran. That approach was not dramatically altered in the immediate aftermath of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, the Administration expressed its intention to join its partners and other countries in imposing crippling new U.N. sanctions if Iran did not return to multilateral nuclear talks by late September 2009. That deadline was later amended to the end of 2009, to allow time to reach an agreement with Iran to implement an October 1, 2009, framework to send out most of its enriched uranium to France and Russia for reprocessing for later medical use. Because Iran has not accepted the details of this framework, the United States, the other P51 countries, and other nations who believe that Iran needs to be further pressured are discussing further U.N. sanctions against Iran. The Administration has been increasingly less vocal about engagement with Iran since late 2009. Instead, the Administration has taken certain administrative steps e.g., modifying regulations to allow U.S. Internet software to reach Iran that appear to support a congressional trend to try to help the domestic opposition.
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