This CRS report discusses U.S. concerns and policy responses to Iran. "The Bush Administration characterizes Iran as a "profound threat to U.S. national security interests," a perception generated primarily by Iran's nuclear program but that also takes into account Iran's military assistance to armed groups in Iraq, to the Palestinian group Hamas, and to Lebanese Hezbollah. The threat assessment of some other governments was lessened by the December 3, 2007 key judgements of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that indicates that Iran is driving to develop an actual nuclear weapon, but Administration officials say that this finding was not the main thrust of the NIE, which judged Iran to be continuing uranium enrichment. The Bush Administration approach to contain the potential threat posed by Iran's nuclear program is to strengthen international economic pressure on Iran while also offering Iran potential cooperation should it comply with the international demands to suspend its enrichment of uranium. This led the Administration to approve the participation of a high-level State Department official at multilateral nuclear talks with Iran on July 19, 2008. Three U.N. resolutions (1737, 1747, and 1803) impose sanctions that ban weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related trade with Iran; freeze the assets of Iran's nuclear and related entities and personalities; prevent Iran from transferring arms outside Iran; ban or require reporting on international travel by named Iranians; call for inspections of some Iranian sea and airborne cargo shipments; and call for restrictions on dealings with some Iranian banks."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32048