Americans overwhelmingly support stronger sanctions on Iran and believe Tehran is using the negotiations to stall for more time to develop its nuclear program, according to a new poll released Wednesday by Luntz Global:
Fully 77% of Democrats and a near unanimous 96% of Republicans would rather vote for a senator who favors sanctions, including “increased pressure on Iran until Iran accepts a final agreement that removes their ability to build nuclear weapons.” Only 14% of voters would prefer a senator who wants to reduce pressure on Iran in the context of negotiations.
Drilling down into how Americans think negotiations should be conducted, a broad majority (77%) supported continuing to negotiate “while imposing sanctions and increas[ing] financial pressure and sanctions.” Only 23% supported continuing to negotiate “while reducing sanctions and financial pressure on Iran.”
The poll, conducted for Al-Masdar.net and TheTower.org, also found widespread skepticism of Iran’s intentions during its nuclear negotiations with world leaders:
Just 7% trust the Iranian claim that their nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, 77% who are afraid of Iran’s intentions. 86% of voters—a 78% among Democrats and 95% among Republicans—think Iran will break its promises during the negotiation, while only 14% say they will keep them. Only 16% believe Iran is “negotiating in good faith and will eventually give up their ability to make nuclear weapons.” The vast majority (84%) think Iran is instead using negotiations “to stall as they continue to develop their ability to make nuclear weapons.”
Americans are also strongly opposed to the acceptance of a so-called Iranian “right to enrichment.” The Obama administration has said it is prepared to allow Iran to continue to enrich uranium at limited levels:
Regarding where negotiations should end up, Americans very bluntly don’t want Iran to have substantial nuclear capacity now or ever. 86% overall—81% of Democrats and 91% of Republicans—think the United States should prohibit Iran from possessing enrichment capabilities.
The poll queried 900 likely voters between Dec. 7 and Dec. 9. It was released as a bipartisan group of senators pushes ahead with new Iran sanctions legislation, in the face of opposition from the Obama administration.