January 24, 2007


Iranians Want Capacity to Enrich Uranium But Accept NPT Rules Against Developing Nuclear Weapons (WorldPublicOpinion.org, 1/24/07)

An in-depth survey of public opinion in Iran reveals that most Iranians want their country to have the capacity to enrich uranium for nuclear energy, but a majority also agrees that Iran should comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which forbids Iran from developing nuclear weapons. A parallel poll in the United States shows that a majority of Americans are ready to accept a deal allowing Iran to engage in limited enrichment if it also agrees to give UN inspectors full access to ensure Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.

The concurrent surveys of public opinion in Iran and the United States were conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org in partnership with Search for Common Ground. Steven Kull, who directed the surveys, comments, "The polls show that majorities in both countries are deeply suspicious of each other, but nonetheless agree on a wide range of issues."

Iranians and Americans support international non-proliferation rules as well as a stronger United Nations and reject Osama bin Laden. Majorities or pluralities favor a variety of steps to improve U.S.-Iranian relations and neither side believes conflict between Islam and the West is inevitable.

The poll of the Iranian public was unprecedented in scope. The questionnaire included 134 substantive questions on a wide range of international issues, administered in face-to-face interviews in rural and as well as urban areas. Both the Iranian and U.S. surveys were probability-based national samples of 1,000 respondents or more. [...]

Large majorities of Americans and majorities or pluralities of Iranians endorse a variety of ways to strengthen ties, including increased trade (Iranians 52%, Americans 65%), direct talks between the two governments on issues of mutual concern (Iranians 48%, Americans 79%), greater access for each other's journalists (Iranians 51%, Americans 68%), and more cultural, educational, and sporting exchanges (Iranians 46%, Americans 72%)

Only our respective leaderships stand in the way of normal relations.

In 2003, U.S. Spurned Iran's Offer of Dialogue: Some Officials Lament Lost Opportunity (Glenn Kessler, June 18, 2006, Washington Post)

Just after the lightning takeover of Baghdad by U.S. forces three years ago, an unusual two-page document spewed out of a fax machine at the Near East bureau of the State Department. It was a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table -- including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.

But top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative. Instead, they formally complained to the Swiss ambassador who had sent the fax with a cover letter certifying it as a genuine proposal supported by key power centers in Iran, former administration officials said.

Last month, the Bush administration abruptly shifted policy and agreed to join talks previously led by European countries over Iran's nuclear program. But several former administration officials say the United States missed an opportunity in 2003 at a time when American strength seemed at its height -- and Iran did not have a functioning nuclear program or a gusher of oil revenue from soaring energy demand. [...]

The document lists a series of Iranian aims for the talks, such as ending sanctions, full access to peaceful nuclear technology and a recognition of its "legitimate security interests." Iran agreed to put a series of U.S. aims on the agenda, including full cooperation on nuclear safeguards, "decisive action" against terrorists, coordination in Iraq, ending "material support" for Palestinian militias and accepting the Saudi initiative for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The document also laid out an agenda for negotiations, with possible steps to be achieved at a first meeting and the development of negotiating road maps on disarmament, terrorism and economic cooperation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2007 11:57 AM

When Iran stops electing leaders who openly call for the destruction of Israel and support anti-US forces then we'll talk.

Posted by: AWW at January 24, 2007 12:14 PM

We didn't. Indeed, we turned down his offer of a deal.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2007 12:19 PM

One of the few colossal blunders by this president:


Posted by: oj at January 24, 2007 12:35 PM

I don't think adopting sharia is the way to go.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 24, 2007 12:45 PM

Every Muslim nation has shari'a. Certainly they oughtn't switch to the strictest interpretation of shari'a anymore than we'd follow Leviticus.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2007 12:54 PM

What offer of a deal?

Posted by: dna at January 24, 2007 2:03 PM

"respective leaderships"?

OK - once the Guardians and the Revolutionary Guards disappear, then perhaps there will be a chance for sanity in Iranian politics. But not until.

Remember, with respect to Israel, Iraq, terrorism as national policy, and obtaining nuclear weapons, there isn't more than a 10% difference between Khameini, Khatami, Rafsanjani, Montazeri, and old Ruhollah himself. Even your friend Moin isn't going to cross any lines regarding those points. He'll just sound nicer.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 24, 2007 10:50 PM

Khatami and Khamenei already crossed the line. We turned them down.

They've used those items because they were good politics, but don't care about any of them.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2007 10:57 PM

Is the current Iranian "leadership" as trustworthy as Kim Jong-Il?

When you claim they don't care about those items, does that put them on a par with the Republican Presidential phone calls to the Jan. 22 pro-life protestors? Is it just theater?

Then explain the hundreds of millions they have given Hezbollah, the international bombings of Israeli and Jewish targets (and their various attacks on US targets), and their connections with North Korea on nuclear matters.

The leadership didn't care about their economy in 1981 or 1987, when the Iraqi war was at its worst for them, and they have never cared about world opinion with regards to any domestic oppression. The Islamic Republic has assassinated probably over 100 people in Europe, South America, Asia, and perhaps even in the US. Now, perhaps they are just exercising their Allah-given right to sovereignty, but I doubt if your book allows them such latitude.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 24, 2007 11:50 PM

No, it puts them on a par with Hugo Black, Robert Byrd, Strom Thurmond, etc. Guys who said what they had to in order to get elected but had no trouble ditching the wahoo-bait when it went out of style.

Of course they support Hezbollah--the Shi'a of Lebanon deserve a state. Israel is their enemy in that regard.

Posted by: oj at January 25, 2007 12:01 AM

but don't care about any of them.

Though I must say I am impressed with your ability to read minds (especially half way around the globe), but what you are now saying is that if Iranian politicians have to say these evil things then its the Iranian people who are evil, not their leaders.

I wish you would make up your mind.

Oh and you never answered me: What offer of a deal?

Posted by: dna at January 25, 2007 7:34 AM

No, the Iranian people voted for reform.

Posted by: oj at January 25, 2007 8:29 AM

So why do Iranian politicans have to say evil things to get elected.

And again, what offer of a deal?

Posted by: dna at January 25, 2007 10:25 AM

They don't.

Still the same deal.

Posted by: oj at January 25, 2007 12:15 PM

First you say:

No, it puts them on a par with Hugo Black, Robert Byrd, Strom Thurmond, etc. Guys who said what they had to in order to get elected but had no trouble ditching the wahoo-bait when it went out of style.

Then you say in response to my statement "So why do Iranian politicans have to say evil things to get elected.":

They don't

Why do't you stop taling out of both sides of your mouth?

Still the same deal.

What deal? Please elaborate, I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.

Posted by: dna at January 25, 2007 12:33 PM

Yes, you've made your ignorance extravagantly clear, but I answered your question long ago and am not going to keep doing so just because you're petulant. The same deal spelled out above.

Which American president had to talk up Jim Crow to get elected? Like segregation, the wilder pronouncements appeal to niches not the general population.

Posted by: oj at January 25, 2007 12:50 PM

A deal is made with people you can trust. So I'll ask again, what deal?

Posted by: dna at January 25, 2007 7:01 PM

The same one, where Iran offered everything you insist they can never countenance. We refused it.

Posted by: oj at January 25, 2007 8:15 PM

How foolish do you have to be to trust a government that makes an offer made bogus by simultaneously shoutiong "death to Israel", our ally?

Let them accept Israel's right to exist and then we'll talk.

Good thing Pres. Bush didn't let Iran play us for suckers.

Posted by: dna at January 26, 2007 5:04 AM

Thus do we see that it is a form of psychosis for you lot, who can't even accept exactly what you demand.

Posted by: oj at January 26, 2007 7:55 AM