March 12, 2008

International support for sanctions, military action against Iran declines

Washington, DC – Support for tough measures against Iran’s nuclear program has declined sharply in the United States, according to a BBC World Service Poll released March 11. In the wake of Admiral William Fallon’s resignation from the US Central Command, the poll is a reassuring reminder that Americans still do not favor a US military strike on Iran.

The results show that support against sanctions or military strikes has declined six points in the United States since the last BBC World Service Poll in June 2006.

The results fall in line with the expressed wishes of the Iranian-American community. A 2007 poll conducted by the University of California at Berkeley shows that the support for military strikes on Iran is minimal among Iranian Americans, and that a vast majority of Iranian Americans favor negotiations with Iran.

The BBC World Service Poll interviews, conducted after the US National Intelligence Estimate in December, surveyed 32,039 adult citizens in 31 countries. 27 out of 31 countries surveyed reject economic sanctions or military strikes on Iran; and on average, 43 percent of the countries surveyed favor diplomacy with Iran.

Only three countries surveyed have increased their support for economic sanctions or military strikes since 2006: Israel (by 9 points), South Korea (by 6 points) and Turkey (by 12 points).

The BBC’s poll also found that, under certain conditions, many people would be willing to accept a nuclear-powered Iran. Those conditions include permanent UN inspectors, and the assumption that Iran would produce nuclear fuel solely for the purposes of electricity.

Polling was conducted by the international polling firm, GlobeScan, and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.

“It appears that people in many countries are interested in ramping down the confrontation with Iran,” said Steven Kull, Director of PIPA, “while still using UN inspectors to ensure that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.”




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