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CRS-Iran, January 19, 2011

CRS-Iran, January 19, 2011

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Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Kenneth Katzman Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs January 19, 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 military assistance to armed groups in I
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Kenneth Katzman Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs January 19, 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 military assistance to armed groups in I

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Published by: Confederation of Iranian students on Oct 23, 2011
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01/22/2013

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The U.S. military ousting of Saddam Hussein benefitted Iran strategically. In an effort by Iran to
reap those benefits, during 2004-2008, U.S.-Iran differences in Iraq widened to the point where
some were describing the competition as a U.S.-Iran “proxy war” inside Iraq. The acute source of
tension was evidence, detailed on several occasions by U.S. commanders in Iraq, that the Qods
Force was providing arms (including highly lethal “explosively forced projectiles,” EFPs, which
have killed U.S. soldiers), training, guidance, and financing to pro-Iranian Shiite militias involved
in sectarian violence. The State Department report on terrorism for 2009, released August 5,
2010, says much of this activity continues, although U.S. assessments indicate this material
support may have fallen off as Shiite militia activity has declined more generally.

However, Iran and the United States both accepted the return of Nuri al-Maliki to a second term
as prime minister because he is considered acceptable to both; he was formally tapped on
November 25, 2010, to assemble a new government within 30 days. He presented a new, broad-
based government on December 21, 2010, and it achieved confirmation by the full Iraqi
parliament. The government included senior Sunni Arabs in key positions and appeared to offer
less room for Iranian influence than was expected earlier in 2010. However, Iran’s influence may
have been boosted in early January 2011 by the return to Iraq of Iran’s protégé Shiite cleric and
faction leader Moqtada Al Sadr. Upon his return, he strongly opposed any U.S. military presence
in Iraq after the mandated withdrawal date of December 31, 2011. The major issues involved in
Iran’s relationship with Iraq and interference in it are discussed in CRS Report RS22323, Iran-
Iraq Relations
, by Kenneth Katzman.

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