Iranians want nuclear arms, US survey finds

Agence France Presse reports:

Many Iranians are worried about international nuclear sanctions but also want the country to have atomic weapons, according to a survey by a US institute revealed Wednesday.

The poll, carried out by Charney Research for the International Peace Institute, a New York-based think tank, also indicated that most Iranians voted for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a controversial June 2009 election that many countries said was fixed.

Forty-seven percent of Iranians said sanctions ordered by the United Nations, and by individual countries, were having a big impact, said the poll of 700 people carried out in early September. Fifty three percent believed it is Iran’s major foreign policy problem.

But 71 percent of Iranians want the country to have nuclear weapons and only 21 percent opposed such a move. Lead researcher Craig Charney said this compared to 52 percent support for nuclear weapons and 42 percent opposition in a similar poll in 2007.

The fourth round of sanctions was passed by the UN Security Council in June this year. Iran refuses to halt uranium enrichment but has denied the West’s accusations that it is seeking a nuclear bomb.

Charney said the study shows “you can’t just propose the grand bargain and expect Iranians to accept it straight away.”

With international tensions rising, the poll indicated that the number of people who were pro-United States had fallen from 34 percent in 2008 to eight percent now. Sixty-eight percent believed that if there was an attack on Iran, it would come from the United States.

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