All contents of this website Copyright © Transatlantic Euro-
During the 1980s and 1990s, U.S. officials identified Iran’s support for militant Middle East groups as the primary threat to U.S. Regional interests and allies. Iran’s expanding nuclear program took precedence in U.S. policy after 2002. In 2010, the United States orchestrated broad international economic pressure on Iran to persuade it to agree to strict limits on the program. The pressure might have contributed to the June 2013 election of the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran, whose government subsequently negotiated a November 2013 interim nuclear agreement and then the JCPOA. The JCPOA, which began formal implementation on January 16, 2016, exchanged broad sanctions relief for nuclear program limits.
President Obama has asserted that the JCPOA has the potential to produce the added benefit of improving U.S.-
Domestically, Rouhani and the JCPOA appear to have broad support, but many Iranians say they also want greater freedoms of expression and assembly. Rouhani’s public support was demonstrated by the strong showing of moderate conservative candidates in the elections for the parliament and a key clerical body, which were completed on April 29. The results appear to strengthen Rouhani but might still not render him able to limit hardliner control of the state institutions that curb dissent and free expression. The United States has supported programs to promote civil society in Iran, but successive U.S. administrations have stopped short of adopting policies that specifically seek to overthrow Iran’s regime.