"President Obama has said his Administration shares the goals of previous Administrations to contain Iran's strategic capabilities and regional influence. The Administration has not changed the previous Administration's characterization of Iran as a "profound threat to U.S. national security interests," a perception generated not only by Iran's nuclear program but also by its military assistance to armed groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Palestinian group Hamas, and to Lebanese Hezbollah. The Obama Administration formulated approaches to achieve those goals that differ from those of its predecessor by expanding direct diplomatic engagement with Iran's government and by downplaying discussion of potential U.S. military action against Iranian nuclear facilities. However, the domestic unrest in Iran that has burgeoned since alleged fraud in Iran's June 12, 2009, presidential election has presented the Administration with a choice of whether to continue to engage Iran's government or to back the growing ranks of the Iranian opposition."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32048