Obama Administration Shifts Its Tactics On Iran
NPR / Jackie Northam

When President Obama took office just over a year ago, he embarked on what many people believed — and hoped — was a new era for U.S.-Iran relations. Obama wanted to engage with the Islamic republic to help break the impasse created by Iran's suspected nuclear program.

But analysts say his efforts were rebuffed. And earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions on companies run by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Flynt Leverett, a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, says Obama may have had some forward-leaning impulses when he took office, "but it seems they were just that — impulses," he says.

Leverett says the new sanctions show the administration did not have a fully thought-out strategy about how to realign relations with Iran.

"They've essentially fallen back into the same-old, same-old, and it's hard to say beyond some specimens of nicer rhetoric, what, in substance, is really different about their policy from what George W. Bush's policy was by the time he left office," Leverett says.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says the administration now has few options but to slap sanctions on the Iranian regime. However, Gerecht says, the administration should change how it frames those sanctions, focusing them on human rights violations rather than on Iran's nuclear program.

"I think it's important that any sanctions implemented be clear... >>>

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