Americans pessimistic over interim deal with Iran

December 02, 2013, 2:49 PM GMT+0

Democrats are much more supportive of the Iranian nuclear agreement than Republicans, but most Americans doubt that it will prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon at some point in the future.

Last week in Geneva the top diplomats of the US and Iran, along with other foreign leaders, met and finally settled on an interim agreement on Iran's nuclear program. The agreement will see enrichment activity at Iranian nuclear facilities either suspended or limited for at least the next six months and IAEA inspectors will have far greater access to Iranian nuclear sites. In return, the US and European Union will ease a number of the strict economic sanctions currently in place, and unfreeze billions of dollars worth of Iranian assets abroad. The deal is not final, however, and is in force for somewhere between the next six months and a year and a half, pending the finalisation of a longer term agreement.

According to the latest research from YouGov, just over one third of Americans (36%) support the interim agreement while 35% oppose it. A majority of Democrats (60%) support the accord, while most Republicans (59%) oppose it. Independents also tend to oppose (40%) rather than support (27%) the agreement.

When asked whether the deal is good or bad for the US and and its allies, Americans tend to say that it will be bad rather than good. The impact of the agreement on Israel, in particular, is viewed as negative, and about one third of people think it will be bad for both US allies in the Middle East, and the United States. Democrats are a bit more optimistic at least in terms of the US, with most (52%) saying it will be good for the United States.

Three fourths of Republicans (75%) think that the US is being too generous towards Iran in terms of the agreement, while almost half of Democrats (47%) think the US is "about right".

Asking whether the deal will stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon reveals that Americans are essentially pessimistic about the hopes of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. A third of Americans say that the deal will neither delay nor prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, while 28% say that it will delay, but not totally prevent, Iran's nuclear weapon program. Most Republicans (63%) say that the deal will neither prevent nor delay an Iranian nuclear weapon, while the most common response of Democrats was to say that they are 'not sure' (37%).

42% of Americans don't trust the Iranian government "at all" to stick to its side of the nuclear deal, while only 17% have at least 'some' trust in the Iranian government. However, in the latest polls, the American perception of Iran posing an immediate and serious threat has jumped from 16%, to 22%.

Though most of the international community have backed the agreement, Israel being a major exception, it remains to be seen if Congress will fall into line behind the President and back the bill. Many prominent Congressmen and Senators have called for tougher action against Iran despite the agreement, including prominent Democrats such as Senator Chuck Schumer.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty Images

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