The following is a survey of attitudes about Iran’s controversial nuclear program in 21 countries. The poll by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project was released on May 18, 2012, just days before the second round of talks between the world’s six major power and Iran in Baghdad. The poll found “widespread opposition” to Iran acquiring the world’s deadliest weapon. But the poll also found serious differences in attitudes about both applying sanctions and using force as means of pressuring Iran to cooperate with the international community. The following is an excerpt with a link to the full report at the bottom.
Leaders from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, are scheduled to meet next week in Baghdad in an effort to keep Tehran from crossing a threshold that would enable it to quickly produce a nuclear bomb. Nine-in-ten citizens of the United States, Britain, France and Germany oppose Iran’s nuclear weapons aspiration. Roughly three-in-four Russians agree but just 54% of Chinese concur.
Among those who oppose a nuclear-armed Iran, there is majority support in most countries for international economic sanctions to try to stop Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. But there are differences between the negotiating partners. Among those who oppose Iran’s program, around eight-in-ten Americans, Germans and British back sanctions, but only 46% of Russians and 38% of Chinese are in agreement.
The military option is even more divisive among those who are against Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. A solid majority (63%) in the U.S. would turn to military force to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Roughly half of Washington’s European allies would support such a move. And there is very little Chinese or Russian support for a military strike.
The survey of 26,210 people in 21 countries, conducted between March 17 and April 20, 2012, also finds:
Middle Eastern Views: Iran’s regional neighbors generally would rather not see an Iranian nuclear arsenal. About three-in-four Jordanians (76%), two-in-three Egyptians (66%) and 54% of Turks oppose Tehran acquiring nuclear weaponry, while Tunisians are divided (42% favor, 43% oppose). Half of Pakistanis back Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Economic Sanctions: Americans and citizens of their European negotiating partners in the E3+3 talks strongly support tougher international economic measures against Tehran. The Chinese and Russians do not agree with their negotiating counterparts on economic sanctions. Just 46% of Russians who oppose the Iranian nuclear program back new sanctions, and 54% in China actually disapprove of them. Moreover, support for sanctions is eroding in these two pivotal members of the E3+3 talks.
Iran’s Image: Overall ratings of Iran remain largely negative across much of the world. Solid majorities in the United States and the European Union have an unfavorable opinion of Iran. Negative assessments are also common in China (62%). In Russia, however, views are divided. Iran is also unpopular in many predominantly Muslim nations. Roughly six-in-ten Lebanese (61%) give the Islamic Republic a negative rating. In Turkey, 55% have an unfavorable opinion. Jordanians (79% unfavorable) and Egyptians (76%) give Iran especially poor marks.
Views of Ahmadinejad: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad receives largely negative reviews in most of the predominantly Muslim nations surveyed. Pakistan is an exception: nearly half of Pakistanis (47%) express a favorable opinion of Ahmadinejad. Also, 42% of Tunisians hold a positive view of the Iranian leader.
Source: UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE