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CRS-Iran, June 9, 2011

CRS-Iran, June 9, 2011

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Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Dr. Kenneth Katzman Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs June 9, 2011

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
The Obama Administration views Iran as a major threat to U.S. national security interests, a perception generated not only by Iran’s nuclear program but also by its materiel assistance to armed groups in Iraq
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Dr. Kenneth Katzman Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs June 9, 2011

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
The Obama Administration views Iran as a major threat to U.S. national security interests, a perception generated not only by Iran’s nuclear program but also by its materiel assistance to armed groups in Iraq

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Published by: Confederation of Iranian students on Oct 23, 2011
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05/18/2012

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The Administration view is that Iran’s growing inventory of ballistic missiles and its acquisition
of indigenous production of anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) provide capabilities to enhance its
power projection. Tehran views its conventionally armed missiles as an integral part of its
strategy to deter—and if necessary retaliate against—forces in the region, including U.S. forces.”
However, Iran’s technical capabilities are a matter of some debate among experts, and Iran
appears to have focused on missiles capable of hitting regional targets rather than those of
intercontinental range. Table 7 contains some details on Iran’s missile programs.38

A U.N. experts

panel reported in May 2011 that might be getting ballistic missile technology from North Korea,
in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran (discussed above).

In August 2008, the George W. Bush Administration reached agreements with Poland and the
Czech Republic to establish a missile defense system to counter Iranian ballistic missiles. These
agreements were reached over Russia’s opposition, which was based on the belief that the missile
defense system would be used to neutralize Russian capabilities. However, reportedly based on
assessments of Iran’s focus on missiles of regional range, on September 17, 2009, the Obama
Administration reoriented this missile defense program to focus, at least initially, on ship-based
systems, possibly later returning to the idea of Poland and Czech-based systems. Some saw this
as an effort to win Russia’s support for additional sanctions on Iran. In February 2010, Romania’s
top defense policy body approved a U.S. plan to base missile interceptors there. Russia has eased
its resistance to this new architecture because Russia’s own missiles would not need to overfly the
systems. At the November 19-20, 2010, NATO meeting in Lisbon, NATO adopted the concept of
a missile defense system, and to work with Russia to conceive a system that Russia could support,
but the summit did not specifically name Iran as a threat the system is intended to address.

37

Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis. “Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of
Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, Covering 1 January to
31 December 2010. March 2011.

38

Annual Threat Assessment of the Intelligence for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dennis C. Blair,
Director of National Intelligence, February 2, 2010.

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Congressional Research Service

38

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