As Nuclear Clock Ticks, US Public Prefers Diplomacy with Iran
While the public would prefer diplomacy with Iran, they are not taking more aggressive options off the table.
Negotiations to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement, or the Iran nuclear deal, are set to restart November 29 in Vienna. The talks have been stalled since hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took power in June. Although the US public generally views Iran unfavorably, a majority of Americans would prefer to use diplomatic and economic tools to respond to Iran’s growing nuclear program rather than more forceful measures. This new round of negotiations could provide an opportunity for the Biden administration to pursue that route, though there will be challenges to persuading both the GOP and Iranian leadership to rejoin a nuclear deal.
- Majorities of the overall public (59%), self-described Democrats (72%), and Independents (63%)—and four in 10 self-identified Republicans (41%)—would support US participation in a deal that lifts economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.
- If Iran restarts the development of a nuclear weapon, however, majorities of Americans would support conducting cyberattacks against Iranian computer systems (64%) and airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities (60%).
- Republicans are willing to go even further: two-thirds of Republican Party supporters (67%) favor sending US troops to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities if Iran resumes weapons development.
- One in five Americans would support the United States accepting Iran’s eventual acquisition of a nuclear weapon (22%).