April 7, 2008


Iranian Public Sees Reduced U.S. Threat (Jim Lobe, 4/07/08, IPS)

While still distrustful of U.S. intentions, the Iranian public believes that the threat posed by Washington has diminished over the past year and favours increased exchanges between the two countries, including direct talks on stabilising Iraq and other issues, according to a major new survey released here Monday by WorldPublicOpinion.org (WPO).

The poll, which included person-to-person interviews with more than 700 people across Iran during the first half of February, also found strong domestic support for Iran's nuclear-energy programme, with more than eight in 10 respondents insisting that it was "very important" for Tehran to master the uranium enrichment process to produce fuel for its nuclear plants.

But only 20 percent said Iran should develop nuclear weapons, while two-thirds said they agreed with the government's official policy that it should not, and 58 percent said that the production of nuclear weapons would violate Islamic principles.

The same percentage said they would support a deal with the U.N. Security Council whereby Iran could have a full-fuel cycle nuclear programme in exchange for "permanent and full access" by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to all of Iran's nuclear facilities to ensure that the programme was limited to energy production.

"While it is not clear if the Iranian government would accept permanent and full U.N. access to ensure Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, most of the Iranian people are ready to accept it," said Steven Kull, director of WPO and its associated Programme on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), who helped design the survey and participated in focus groups in Tehran to test its findings. "Most Iranians are ready to foreclose developing nuclear weapons."

The public is quite estranged from its president, if only the Reformers will take advantage at the polls.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 7, 2008 7:14 PM
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