"A priority of U.S. policy has been to reduce the perceived threat posed by Iran to a broad range of U.S. interests. Before the issue of Iran's uranium enrichment program emerged in 2002, U.S. officials had consistently identified Iran's support for militant Middle East groups as a significant threat to U.S. interests and allies. The Obama Administration has orchestrated broad international economic pressure on Iran to try to compel it to verifiably demonstrate to the international community that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes. That pressure harmed Iran's economy and might have contributed to the June 2013 election of the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran, who campaigned as an advocate of ending Iran's international isolation. Subsequent multilateral talks with Iran produced an interim agreement ('Joint Plan of Action,' JPA) that halts the expansion of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for modest sanctions relief. It runs from January 20--July 20, 2014, but can be extended for an additional six months. Talks on a 'comprehensive solution' on Iran's nuclear program began on February 20, 2014, and the fourth high-level round ended on June 20, 2014, with the parties reportedly still far apart on the core issue of the size and scope of Iran's program to enrich uranium. The talks are to resume on July 2 and run continuously until the expiration of the JPA on July 20."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32048