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Democracy Promotion, Sanctions and Iran: Obama's Policy Trade Off

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Over the past ten years U.S., policymakers have focused on ending the alleged Iranian nuclear weapon program. The Obama administration intensified this focus, hoping to enter negotiations that could end the Iranian nuclear program through a trade-off in democracy promotion. When mass protests broke out in Iran following the announcement of the results of the 2009 presidential election, the Obama administration was presented with an opportunity to support democracy in Iran. Protestors, using the Internet to communicate and organize, challenged the ruling regime with the largest protests seen in the country since the 1979 revolution. The Iranian regime took steps to further restrict the use of the Internet to express dissent, obtaining surveillance technology developed in the U.S. In response, the Obama administration has continued to engage in a policy trade off, failing to comprehensively address the use of the Internet to promote democracy abroad.
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