Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses [May 3, 2010]   [open pdf - 684KB]

"Even at the height of the Green movement protests, the Obama Administration did not forego diplomatic options to blunt Iran's 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. However, Iran did not accept the technical details of this by the notional deadline of the end of 2009, nor has it adequately responded to international concerns about possible work on a nuclear weapons program. These concerns have sparked renewed multilateral discussions of more U.N. [United Nations] sanctions and apparently have prompted the Defense Department to try to develop additional options for preventing or containing a nuclear Iran. New U.N. sanctions under negotiation would target members and companies of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is not only a pillar of Iran's nuclear program but is also the main element used by the regime to crack down against the protesters. Additional U.N. Security Council sanctions would build on those put in place since 2006. These sanctions generally are targeted against WMD [Weapons of Mass Destruction]-related trade with Iran, but also ban Iran from transferring arms outside Iran and restrict dealings with some Iranian banks. Separate U.S. efforts to persuade European governments to curb trade with, investment in, and credits for Iran, and to convince foreign banks not to do business with Iran, are intended to compound the U.N. pressure. In the 111th Congress, conference action is underway on separate legislation to try to curb sales to Iran of gasoline, which many Members believe could help pressure Iran into a nuclear settlement or undermine the regime's popularity even further. Others believe such steps could help the regime rebuild its support by painting the international community as punitive against the Iranian people. For further information, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RS20871, 'Iran Sanctions', by Kenneth Katzman; CRS Report R40849, 'Iran: Regional Perspectives and U.S. Policy', coordinated by Casey L. Addis; and CRS Report RL34544, 'Iran's Nuclear Program: Status', by Paul K. Kerr."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32048
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