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CRS-Iran, January 6, 2010

CRS-Iran, January 6, 2010

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Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Dr. Kenneth Katzman Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs January 6, 2010

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RL32048

CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Summary
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 Admi
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Dr. Kenneth Katzman Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs January 6, 2010

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RL32048

CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Summary
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 Admi

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Published by: Confederation of Iranian students on Oct 23, 2011
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CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs January 6, 2010
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.govRL32048
 
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy ResponsesCongressional Research Service
Summary
President Obama has said his Administration shares the goals of previous Administrations tocontain Iran’s strategic capabilities and regional influence. The Administration has not changedthe previous Administrations characterization of Iran as a “profound threat to U.S. nationalsecurity interests,” a perception generated not only by Iran’s nuclear program but also by itsmilitary assistance to armed groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Palestinian group Hamas, andto Lebanese Hezbollah. The Obama Administration formulated approaches to achieve those goalsthat differ from those of its predecessor by expanding direct diplomatic engagement with Iran’sgovernment and by downplaying discussion of potential U.S. military action against Iraniannuclear facilities. However, the domestic unrest in Iran that has burgeoned since alleged fraud inIran’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 Iranianopposition.Although Administration statements in December 2009 were more supportive of the student-ledprotests than previously, the Administration remained open to negotiating a nuclear deal with Iranalong the lines of an October 1, 2009, multilateral agreement with Iran. Under that framework,Russia and France would reprocess some of Iran’s low-enriched uranium for medical use.However, Iran has not, to date, agreed to the stipulated technical details of such a reprocessingprogram, casting doubts on Iran’s commitment to the tentative deal and sparking reneweddiscussions of new U.N. sanctions, particularly those that would target members and companiesof Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Guard is the main element used by the regime to crack down against the protesters.Any additional U.N. Security Council sanctions would build on those put in place since 2006.These sanctions generally are targeted against WMD-related trade with Iran, but also ban Iranfrom 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. Some in Congress believe that additional unilateral U.S. sanctions that try to curb salesto Iran of gasoline could help pressure Iran into a nuclear settlement. Others believe thatsanctioning Iran’s ability to monitor the Internet—or clearer statements of U.S. support for thedemonstrators—would help the domestic opposition materially change or even topple the regime.Others believe that new U.S. unilateral or U.N. measures would cause Iran to resist compromise,fracture the U.S.-led coalition that is trying to curb Iran’s program, or hurt the cause of theopposition. For further information, see CRS Report RS20871,
 Iran Sanctions
, by KennethKatzman; CRS Report R40849,
 Iran: Regional Perspectives and U.S. Policy
, coordinated byCasey L. Addis; and CRS Report RL34544,
 Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status
, by Paul K. Kerr.
 
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy ResponsesCongressional Research Service
Contents
Political History..........................................................................................................................1
 
Regime Structure, Stability, and Opposition................................................................................2
 
The Supreme Leader, His Powers, and Other Ruling Councils...............................................2
 
The Presidency/Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...............................................................................6
 
Ahmadinejad’s Policies and Popularity............................................................................7
 
June 12, 2009, Presidential Elections...............................................................................8
 
Election Dispute and Aftermath.......................................................................................9
 
How Shaken and Divided Is the Regime?......................................................................10
 
Exiled Opposition Groups...................................................................................................11
 
People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI)/Camp Ashraf....................................12
 
Other Armed Groups.....................................................................................................13
 
The Son of the Former Shah..........................................................................................13
 
Other Outside Activists.................................................................................................14
 
Human Rights Practices............................................................................................................14
 
Iran’s Strategic Capabilities and Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs..................................16
 
Conventional Military/Revolutionary Guard/Qods Force.....................................................17
 
Nuclear Program and Related International Diplomacy.......................................................19
 
Iran’s Arguments and the International Response...........................................................20
 
Establishment of “P5+1” Contact Group/June 2006 Incentive Package..........................22
 
Resolution 1696............................................................................................................23
 
Resolution 1737............................................................................................................23
 
Resolution 1747 and Results.........................................................................................23
 
Resolution 1803 and Additional Incentives....................................................................24
 
Resolution 1835............................................................................................................24
 
The P5+1 Process Under President Obama....................................................................25
 
Chemical Weapons, Biological Weapons, and Missiles........................................................27
 
Ballistic Missiles/Warheads...........................................................................................27
 
Foreign Policy and Support for Terrorist Groups.......................................................................28
 
Relations with the Persian Gulf States.................................................................................29
 
Iranian Policy in Iraq...........................................................................................................31
 
Supporting Palestinian Militant Groups...............................................................................32
 
Iran and Hamas.............................................................................................................33
 
Lebanese Hezbollah and Syria.............................................................................................33
 
Syria.............................................................................................................................35
 
Central Asia and the Caspian...............................................................................................35
 
Afghanistan and Pakistan....................................................................................................36
 
Pakistan........................................................................................................................37
 
Al Qaeda.............................................................................................................................37
 
Latin America.....................................................................................................................38
 
India...................................................................................................................................39
 
Africa.................................................................................................................................39
 
U.S. Policy Responses, Options, and Legislation.......................................................................39
 
Policy During the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations..........................................40
 
George W. Bush Administration Policy.........................................................................40
 
Overview of Obama Administration Policy.........................................................................41
 

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