Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Iranian Public Speaks Out

February 1, 2007

The latest public opinion survey conducted by an independent Iranian agency from 31 October – 6 December, 2006 throughout Iran show that the Iranians want to be capable to enrich uranium but they are willing to accept Non-Perforation Treaty (NPT)’s prohibition against developing nuclear weapons. The Iranians also overwhelmingly reject Bin Laden and his brand of Islam. Half the Iranians favor direct US-Iran talks on issues of mutual interest, including Iran’s nuclear program.

The survey was part of a project led by to survey public opinion in Iran.

Not unexpected, an overwhelming 84% of Iranians consider Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity as important. Two-thirds of Iranians (66%), however, favor NPT’s prohibition against developing nuclear weapons. On this, the public appears not to support Ahmadinejad’s vague proclamations about a “nuclear Iran.” The 66% majority against the bomb is a critical piece in Iran’s nuclear puzzle, an opening that can give us added leverage and political justification to argue against any programs that can be used in developing nuclear weapons. Only 15% of the public wanted to withdraw from NPT, presumably to have a free hand to build the bomb. This is approximately the size of radical fundamentalist base in today’s Iran.

Most Iranians surveyed (76%) expressed negative opinions of the US. By an astonishing 93%, the Iranians opposed President Bush’s administration. However, a majority of the Iranians (52%) favored direct talks with the US on all issues of mutual interest.

On the issues of terrorism, an overwhelming majority (70%) view international terrorism as an important threat to Iran’s vital interests, with 56% considering terrorism as a critical threat. Osama bin Laden is disliked by a large majority of Iranians (74%). He is viewed “very unfavorably” by 68% of the population. These figures corroborate the Iranian public’s anti-terrorism sentiment.

We are witnessing a young population fed up with terrorism and militaristic policies. But the West should note the overwhelming sentiment of the people when it comes to Iran’s rights and the issue of national pride.

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