July 19, 2007


Iranian Public Ready to Deal on Nuclear Weapons, But Not Uranium Enrichment: The Iranian public is ready to support a deal committing the Iranian government to renounce the development of nuclear weapons and allow full inspections. Iranians are not willing, however, to support giving up the enrichment of uranium for nuclear energy. (World Public Opinion, 7/19/07)

A new poll by sponsored by Terror Free Tomorrow and conducted by D3 Systems shows that a slight majority of Iranians (52%) believe their country should develop nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, overwhelming majorities support a deal under which Iran would provide “full inspections and a guarantee not to develop or possess nuclear weapons” in exchange for incentives, including:

• trade and capital investment overall to create more jobs (favored by 80%)
• trade and capital investment in energy refineries to lower the price of gasoline (79%)
• medical, education and humanitarian assistance to Iranian people in need (80%)
• technological assistance for developing peaceful nuclear energy (80%)

A slight majority (51%) would also be willing to offer “full transparency by Iran to assure there are no Iranian endeavors to develop or possess nuclear weapons” as part of a process of normalizing relations with the United States.

Iranians are not ready to negotiate away their nuclear energy program, however. In the Terror Free Tomorrow (TFT) poll an extraordinarily high 92 percent approves (78% strongly) of Iran’s effort to develop nuclear energy. [...]

Polls from other organizations also suggest that though Iranians support nuclear energy, they do not put a high priority on developing nuclear weapons. A WPO poll conducted in the fall of 2006 found that two thirds approved of Iran being part of the NPT, even when reminded that this meant Iran was prohibited from developing nuclear weapons. Only 15 percent favored Iran withdrawing from the treaty while 60 percent were opposed.

The TFT poll shows that only 29 percent of Iranians consider “developing an arsenal of nuclear weapons” to be a “very important long-term goal” for the government of Iran. In contrast, “improving the Iranian economy” is considered very important by 88 percent and “seeking trade and political relations with Western countries” by 47 percent.

And so Mahmoud finds himself with no support from above or below.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 19, 2007 8:22 PM

Of course Mahmoud has no support - that's pretty clear. I wonder if he cares. But the rest of their government doesn't have support, either.

The Iranian government doesn't seek support from the 'public'. It seeks compliance, submission, docility, silence. Khameini has had 18 years to stop oppressing the public, and it seems the thought has never entered his mind. He doesn't care about public support - he wants them neutered and timid.

And the public is exhausted. They cannot impose any discipline - the Supreme poobah and the shadowy gangs & thugs are detached from it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 20, 2007 1:30 AM

The public isn't oppressed, which is one reason they were so docile last election.

Posted by: oj at July 20, 2007 7:23 AM

"The public isn't oppressed...."

I remember Billy Graham saying something like that in 1982.

You might want to go to Iran and see things first-hand. Things are not as overtly conformist as in Saudi Arabia, but the fist is always there, ready to squeeze.

Remember, things were more 'free' from 1990 until about 1995, well before Khatami. An election here or there isn't going to change things, so long as the fist is still there.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 20, 2007 7:52 AM

Yes, it's been quite awhile since there was significant repression. You don't need to go there, you can read the blogs, media, etc. and listen to what the people say themselves. Their complaints are pretty specific. They saddled themselves with a crappy president and they want a better economy.

Posted by: oj at July 20, 2007 10:40 AM