Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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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. In its first year, the Obama Administration altered the U.S. approach for reducing the Iranian threat by expanding direct diplomatic engagement with Irans government and by offering Irans leaders an alternative vision of closer integration with and acceptance by the West. To try to convince Iranian leaders of peaceful U.S. intent, the Obama Administration has downplayed discussion of potential U.S. military action against Iranian nuclear facilities and has repeatedly insisted that the United States did not materially support the domestic opposition Green movement that emerged following Irans June 12, 2009, presidential election. Even at the height of the Green movement protests in late 2009, the Obama Administration did not forego diplomatic options to blunt Irans nuclear progress and says it remains open to a nuclear deal if Iran fully accepts a framework Iran tentatively agreed to in multilateral talks on October 1, 2009. Iran did not accept the technical details of this by the notional deadline of the end of 2009, nor did it adequately respond to international concerns about possible work on a nuclear weapons program. The Administration shifted toward building a multilateral coalition for additional U.N. sanctions, and apparently prompted the Defense Department to try to develop additional options for preventing or containing a nuclear Iran.
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