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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Opposition to an Iranian nuclear weapon is global

A 21-country survey by Pew Global Attitudes has the world saying no to an Iranian nuclear weapon (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
There is almost universal opposition to Iran acquiring nuclear weapons across the 21 nations surveyed by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project.

Among the United States and its fellow European negotiating partners, the opposition is overwhelming: 96% of the French and the Germans, 94% of Americans and 91% of the British oppose Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Other Europeans have similar sentiments. Fully 95% in Spain, 94% in Czech Republic and 91% in Italy do not want Tehran to have an atomic bomb. This opposition is effectively unchanged since the first Pew Global Attitudes survey on this issue in 2006.

Russians and Chinese, whose governments are the other two partners in the E3+3 process, also oppose the Iranian nuclear weapons program, but less strongly. Roughly three-in-four Russians (77%) are against Tehran acquiring nuclear armaments. In China, 54% oppose Tehran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, down 15 points from 2007.

Iran’s regional neighbors generally would rather not see an Iranian nuclear arsenal. But opinions do vary and they are fluid. 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, while just 11% oppose them. Nearly four-in-ten Pakistanis (39%) have no opinion.

Lebanon is an interesting sectarian case study. Overall, the Lebanese oppose Iran having nuclear weapons by a 62% to 35% margin. But there is a deep cleavage in opinion among religious groups in the country: 94% of Sunni Muslims are against the Iranian nuclear program, as are 61% of Lebanese Christians. Nearly three-in-four Shia Muslims (73%), however, support it. Iranians are mostly Shia Muslims.
You can read the full survey here.

Perhaps most significantly, Israel is not mentioned in the entire article. Finally, the possibility of a nuclear Iran is beginning to be treated as a global problem and not just as an Israeli problem. Maybe the world will deal with it before it's too late. But don't hold your breath.



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