Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses [June 22, 2009]   [open pdf - 779KB]

"President Obama has said his Administration shares the goals of the previous Administration to contain Iran's strategic capabilities and regional influence, but the Obama Administration has formulated approaches to achieve those goals that differ from those of its predecessor--in particular through expanded direct diplomatic engagement with Iran. This effort has begun to be put in practice with messages to the Iranian people by President Obama, and through a growing number of invitations to and contact with Iranian diplomats at multilateral meetings, including those on Iran's nuclear program. […]. Before Iran's June 12, 2009, presidential elections, there was debate over whether the new approaches would yield clear results. The U.S. strategy has been further complicated by the allegations of a 'stolen election' by the challengers to declared election winner, incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the large protests held to demand a new vote. Administration officials say that U.S. goals have not been altered by the election and President Obama, while criticizing Iran's use of violence against protesters, has not announced any changes in policy toward Iran. Congress has passed resolutions that express solidarity with the demonstrators and condemn the regime's repression of them. The Obama Administration has not changed the previous Administration's characterization of Iran as a 'profound threat to U.S. national security interests,' a perception generated primarily by Iran's nuclear program and its military assistance to armed groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Palestinian group Hamas, and to Lebanese Hezbollah."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32048
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