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Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Congressional research rept.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Pagination or Media Count:
President Obama has said his Administration shares the goals of previous administrations to contain Irans strategic capabilities and regional influence. The Obama Administration has not changed the Bush Administrations characterization of Iran as a profound threat to U.S. national security interests, a perception generated not only by Irans nuclear program but also by its military assistance to armed groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Palestinian group Hamas, and to Lebanese Hezbollah. However, the Obama Administration has formulated approaches to achieve those goals that differ from those of its predecessor by expanding direct diplomatic engagement with Irans government and by downplaying discussion of potential U.S. military action against Iranian nuclear facilities. With the nuclear issue unresolved, the domestic unrest in Iran that has occurred since alleged wide-scale fraud was committed in Irans June 12, 2009, presidential election has presented the Administration with a potential choice of continuing the engagement or backing the opposition Green movement. In December 2009, Administration statements shifted toward greater public support of the Green movement, but Administration officials appear to believe that the oppositions prospects are enhanced by a low U.S. public profile on the unrest. Congressional resolutions and legislation since mid-2009 show growing congressional support for steps to enhance the oppositions prospects. Yet, some experts saw the regimes successful effort to prevent the holding of a large Green movement protest on revolution day, February 11, 2010, as an indication that the Administration should return to its engagement efforts.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE