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Latest US Polls on Iran Deal

The following are key findings from recent polls asking Americans about the blueprint for a nuclear deal announced on April 2 by Iran and the world’s six major powers and the talks in general.

AP-GfK Poll

A survey conducted by AP-GfK from April 23-27 found that a slight majority of Americans approve of the interim agreement reached by Iran and the world’s six major powers in late 2013. The following are key results:
Do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of the preliminary agreement reached between Iran and six world powers that is designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program?
Total approve
54 percent
24 percent
 Lean approve
31 percent
Neither —don’t lean
1 percent
Total disapprove
43 percent
23 percent
 Lean disapprove
20 percent
Refused/Not answered
As you may know, as part of the preliminary deal Iran agreed to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities, ship plutonium out of the country and shut down almost half of its uranium enriching centrifuges. How confident are you that Iran will follow through with this agreement?
Extremely/very confident
3 percent
 Extremely confident
1 percent
 Very confident
2 percent
Moderately confident
25 percent
Not too/Not confident at all
69 percent
 Not too confident
34 percent
 Not confident at all
35 percent
Refused/Not answered
3 percent
Click here for the full results.
Quinnipiac University National Poll  
A majority of American voters support the blueprint for a nuclear deal, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University conducted April 16-21. The following are key takeaways from the survey’s findings.
·  58 percent support the preliminary agreement with Iran to restrict that country’s program while 33 percent do not.
·  35 percent of voters are “very confident” or “somewhat confident” the agreement would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, while 62 percent are "not so confident" or "not confident at all.”
·  Supporting the agreement are Democrats 76 - 15 percent and independent voters 60 - 33 percent, with Republicans opposed 56 - 37 percent. 
·  65 percent of voters support making any Iran agreement subject to congressional approval while 24 percent do not.
·  77 percent of voters back a negotiated settlement rather than military intervention to limit Iran’s nuclear program while 13 percent do not.
Click here for more information.


Economist/YouGov Poll
A new Economist/YouGov poll found that most Americans support the nuclear talks with Iran. The survey, conducted April 4-6, found that 61 percent of respondents believe the United States should negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program.
But barely a quarter of respondents said they would trust Iran to adhere to an agreement.  
Support for the nuclear framework announced on April 2 varied along party lines. Among Democrats, 57 percent support the framework, but only 20 percent of Republicans support it.
Click here for more information on the poll
Reuters/Ipsos Poll
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted April 3-7, found that 36 percent of respondents support the preliminary nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six major powers. When broken down by party, 30 percent of Republicans support the deal compared to 51 percent of Democrats.
Not sure
30 percent
30 percent
40 percent
51 percent
10 percent
39 percent
33 percent
21 percent
45 percent
The poll also found little support for using military force as the sole way to curb Iran's nulcear program. Only 5 percent of Democrats, 11 percent of Republicans, and 6 percent of Independents supported that approach.
Click here for more information on the poll
NBC News/SurveyMonkey Poll
A new NBC News/SurveyMonkey Poll, conducted April 6-8, found that the majority of Americans consider Iran’s nuclear program a “major threat.” More than 70 percent of Republicans gave that response, compared to just over 40 percent of Democrats.
Iran’s nuclear program is:
Major threat
53 percent
74 percent
41 percent
50 percent
Minor threat
37 percent
23 percent
47 percent
39 percent
Not a threat at all
8 percent
1 percent
11 percent
9 percent
Click here for more information on the poll


Americans United for Change/Hart Research Poll

A poll commissioned by Americans United for Change, conducted April 6-8, found that 65 percent believe Congress should allow the agreement to move forward and monitor its implementation, while 30 percent believe Congress should take action to block the deal before it is implemented.

Congress should:
Allow agreement to go forward and closely monitor implementation
65 percent
47 percent
82 percent
64 percent
Block the agreement now and prevent implementation
30 percent
48 percent
15 percent
27 percent
Click here for more information on the poll


Tags: Poll, Reports

Kerry, Moniz Op-ed

As the United Nations conducts its five year review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz said it remains “at the heart of the global effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and it has helped keep the world safe for 45 years.” The following are excerpts from their joint op-ed in Foreign Policy.

The NPT is elegant in its simplicity: Under the treaty, parties that do not possess nuclear weapons agree to forego them, parties that possess nuclear weapons agree to work in good faith toward nuclear disarmament, and all parties are able to access peaceful nuclear benefits like nuclear medicine and energy.
Nearly every country in the world has joined the NPT. The treaty is the irreplaceable foundation for international efforts to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons, a goal repeatedly affirmed by President Barack Obama as part of his ambitious Prague agenda.
The NPT opened the door to reducing the world’s stockpiles of nuclear weapons — and reducing the threat of nuclear war. Since the United States signed the NPT in 1968, we have cut our nuclear arsenal by almost 85 percent. Through 20-plus years of cooperation with Russia, together we turned the equivalent of 20,000 Soviet nuclear warheads into energy that is lighting homes and offices across America.
The barriers to proliferation are strong and growing stronger. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plays an essential role in verifying that nuclear energy programs remain peaceful. The organization will be critical to verifying Iran’s compliance under any final understanding and monitoring the means adopted to prevent Iran from acquiring or misusing technologies and materials that could be used to secretly to build a bomb.
The United States knows that future nuclear reductions will require enhanced verification methods and that all nations share the responsibility to identify and develop them. We recently started the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification, which will bring countries together to develop the best techniques and tools for monitoring nuclear stockpiles at lower numbers.
Through word and deed, the United States is fighting nuclear dangers across the board, but there is still much to do. Reducing and eventually eliminating the nuclear threat will never be easy, but the NPT is our best tool in this fight. The accord represents a heroic, if quiet, triumph of pragmatic cooperation to protect the world from nuclear dangers while promoting the safe, peaceful uses of the atom that can benefit mankind.
Click here for the full text.

House Foreign Affairs Committee: Verification Needed in Nuke Deal

On April 22, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing focused on verification measures in a potential nuclear deal with Iran. Chairman Ed Royce argued that “the issue of inspections and verification will be central to how Congress judges any final agreement.” In his testimony, David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International security, noted that Iran has generally complied with the terms of the interim nuclear agreement. But “its record remains problematic” on issues like clarifying the past military dimensions of its nuclear program.

The following are excerpts from Chairman Royce’s opening statement and testimony from expert witnesses.

Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman
“In announcing its outlines, President Obama declared that this agreement is ‘based on unprecedented verification.’ However, all of the essential elements of this inspection regime still need to be negotiated.
The ink wasn’t even dry on this month’s announcement…when he asserted that Tehran wouldn’t allow international inspectors access to its military facilities. And this weekend, the Deputy Head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps reiterated, “They will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams.”
“The Administration has shrugged off such comments as Iranian domestic spin. But the issue of inspections and verification will be central to how Congress judges any final agreement. Will inspectors have quick, unimpeded, go-anywhere, anytime access? Who can they interview; what documents can they review; can they take environmental samples? Does the IAEA have the qualified manpower and resources to take this on? Can the framework’s ‘limited’ centrifuge research and development restriction really be verified?
Iran’s long history of clandestine activity and intransigence prevents the U.S. from holding any trust whatsoever in Iran. Indeed, deception has been a cornerstone of Iran’s nuclear program since its inception. So when it comes to negotiating an inspections regime over the next two months, the U.S. must gain ground, not retreat.”
“As one witness will testify, international inspectors can be no tougher than the countries that back them. The history of arms-control inspections is that they are easy for political leaders to tout as a solution, but are difficult to fully implement. What looks good on the white board often fails in the real world.
Even if verified, as one witness will note, this agreement still puts Iran on the path to being an accepted nuclear weapons threshold state. And beginning in ten years, the Administration’s lauded one-year break-out period begins to fall away and Iran will be able to enrich on an industrial scale. At the same time, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is advancing its ballistic missile capability – under orders from the Supreme Leader to ‘mass produce.’ “
Mr. David Albright
Founder and President, Institute for Science and International Security
“Adequate verification is critical to a long-term deal in terms of verifying activities at declared nuclear sites and more importantly ensuring the absence of undeclared nuclear material and facilities. Although the interim deal under the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) strengthened the monitoring of declared sites, it did little to increase the IAEA’s ability to detect and find covert sites and activities. Inspectors have regularly reported in quarterly safeguards reports on Iran that the IAEA is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is used for peaceful activities.
Whether this situation changes will largely depend on the ability of the United States and its partners to create a comprehensive plan that establishes legally binding conditions on Iran that go beyond those in the comprehensive safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol. A critical question will be whether the agreement establishes a verification regime adequate to promptly catch Iranian cheating. The U.S. Fact Sheet and subsequent briefings I received on the parameters of a comprehensive plan show that a considerable amount of work remains in the area of verification.
Recent Iranian statements disagreeing with verification provisions in the U.S. Fact Sheet raise the question of whether the U.S. negotiators have tried to oversell what has been agreed to. Iran’s public disagreements with the text could reflect also spin for domestic consumption, but more concerning, they could be attempts to create a predicate to renegotiate certain key parameters agreed to in Lausanne. U.S. officials have stated that everything in the U.S. Fact Sheet was agreed “in the room,” meaning that Iran agreed to all these parameters during the negotiations in Lausanne. If one assumes that the U.S. version is accurate, the U.S. Fact Sheet combined with briefings from officials shows that key verification arrangements remain unresolved, particularly those related to PMD issues and those that supplement the Additional Protocol. In fact, there are enough verification provisions unsettled that we at my organization cannot make a judgment about their adequacy without further progress in the negotiations.”
“Iran has in general been in compliance with the conditions of the JPA. However, it enriched in the IR-5 centrifuge, an act inconsistent with its JPA undertakings. When confronted by the United States, Iran quickly backed down and even took additional steps to increase confidence that enrichment in this centrifuge would not happen again. However, Iran has not shown a willingness to back down on more fundamental issues, such as resolving the IAEA’s PMD concerns, halting its illicit nuclear procurements, and fully cooperating with the IAEA. On less important issues, Iran is more cooperative but on the difficult ones, its record remains problematic.”
Mr. Charles Duelfer
Chairman, Omnis, Inc. and Former Chairman, UN Special Commission on Iraq [UNSCOM]
“I simply want to draw attention to the intricacies and the vulnerabilities of inspection systems. Too often in my experience, they served as a balancing entry for things the Security Council itself could not agree. In the event, the inspectors were subject to enormous political pressures. Indeed, the leadership positions of the inspector organization became politically sensitive. I can imagine the political machinations that will occur when current IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s term expires in 2017.
Overall, I cannot imagine the circumstances in Iran playing out favorably for the inspection system. And I repeat, Tehran will have watched and learned from the Iraq experience.
From what has been revealed publicly, it does not seem that inspectors will have any more authority or access than the inspectors in Iraq. Indeed, they will have far less it seems.
Moreover, the power behind the inspectors is greatly reduced since sanctions remain OFF unless the inspectors report something negative. And, what will constitute a sufficiently negative report? Delayed access? Ambiguous data? Once commerce is flowing, it is generally understood, it will be very difficult to stop. Saddam knew this and worked this successfully through illicit trade. In the Iran case it will not even be illicit.
Further, unity in the Security Council is highly questionable. Moreover, I cannot imagine the Security Council delegating its decision authority to re-impose sanctions to the head of the IAEA. That would certainly make the position much more political. Any “snap-back” provision, while desirable in principle, may not be achievable in practice.”
“In the case of Iraq, it turned out that after 8 years of inspections Saddam had largely rid himself of militarily significant WMD capability. He did this to get out of sanctions. Often overlooked was that Saddam also acknowledged that he intended to reconstitute these programs when circumstances permitted, i.e. after he was free from sanctions. Saddam played a long game. That’s not something we are good at. We have a regular cycle of changing our leadership. Continuity between our leaders is inconsistent—indeed it is often challenged. Not so for regimes like Saddam’s in Iraq and the Supreme Leader in Iran.”
The Honorable Stephen G. Rademaker
National Security Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center; and Former Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control & Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State
“This deal will represent acceptance by the international community of Iran as a nuclear weapons threshold state.
By “nuclear weapons threshold state,” I do not mean that we’re accepting that Iran will have nuclear weapons, but we are accepting that, after ten years or so, Iran will have the ability to produce nuclear weapons in very short order, within a matter of weeks, or perhaps even days. This is important because countries that are able to produce nuclear weapons virtually overnight have to be treated by the rest of the world as if they already have nuclear weapons, because at any given moment, no one knows for sure that they don’t. Such countries may not have nuclear weapons today, but they are so close to having them that they nevertheless are able to engage in nuclear intimidation of others. Consequently, those who feel intimidated will be sorely tempted to develop nuclear options of their own, potentially giving rise to the very cascade of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East that experts have long predicted would occur if Iran’s nuclear ambitions were not restrained.
And by “accepting,” I mean that the United States is abandoning the policy pursued for more than twenty years by the Clinton, Bush, and, until now, Obama Administrations, to make sure Iran neither had nuclear weapons nor was on the threshold of producing them. We are committing to drop our nuclear-related sanctions, accept the legitimacy of the nuclear program that is affording Iran this capability, and even to support future international transfers of equipment and technology to that program.”
Click here for the full statements


UN: Iran Complying with Interim Nuke Deal

On April 20, the U.N. nuclear watchdog reported that Iran has continued to meet its commitments under the interim nuclear agreement with the world’s six major powers. The report found that Iran was not enriching uranium above the five percent level or making "any further advances" at its enrichment facilities and heavy water reactor.

But the nuclear watchdog also noted on April 16 that Tehran has not fully addressed outstanding issues on its program related to activities that could be used to create an atomic device, such as alleged experiments on explosives, despite a "constructive exchange."

The following are some of the report’s key findings.

Since January 20, 2014, Iran has:

  • Not enriched uranium above the five percent level at its declared facilities
  • Diluted 108.4kg of its 20 percent enriched uranium down to the five percent level
  • Not made “any further advances” in its activities at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant or Arak reactor
  • Began converting 2720kg of five percent enriched uranium into uranium oxide
  • Continued to provide daily access to enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow
  • Provided regular access to centrifuge assembly workshops and centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities
  • Provided, for purposes of enhanced monitoring, plans for nuclear facilities, descriptions of their operations, and information on uranium mines and mills
Click here for the full report

Iran and Afghanistan Strengthen Ties

On April 19, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrived in Tehran for a two-day visit with Iranian officials, his first since taking office in September. He was accompanied by six other Afghan officials, including Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and National Security Advisor Muhammad Hanif Atmar. Ghani met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani during his visit, and signed two agreements to increase cooperation in countering terrorism and drug trafficking. The following are excerpted remarks from Afghan and Iranian officials during Ghani’s visit.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
“In addition to its rich human and cultural resources, Afghanistan also enjoys abundant natural resources. These potentialities and commonalities should all serve to upgrade cooperation between the two countries.” 
 “Of course, the Americans and some countries in the region are unaware of the potentialities of Afghanistan and do not favor rapport and cooperation between the two countries either, but Iran regards the security and progress of its neighbor, Afghanistan, as its own security and progress.”
“Issues between the two countries, including ‘immigrants, water, transportation and security’ are all resolvable and everyone should deal with and settle these issues seriously and within the framework of a timeframe.” 
—April 19, 2015, in a meeting with President Ghani
President Hassan Rouhani
"We need intelligence sharing and, if necessary, cooperation in operations because the problems that exist are not restricted and gradually spread throughout the region, affecting everyone."
—April 19, 2015, at a press conference with President Ghani
“We are very happy to witness unity and fraternity in Afghanistan and such a national integration is necessary for public development and welfare. Mutual confidence of people and government is the highest national asset and its result is stability, security and subsequently development which are both in favor of Afghan people and regional nations.”
“Both countries want establishment of peace and stability in the entire region, believing that in regional countries, including Yemen, problems cannot be settled through military means. Using planes and bombardment will not be effective, rather, in any country, people and political groups should remove their own problems through national dialogue and other governments and neighbors should prepare the ground for holding the dialogue.”
—April 19, 2015, in a meeting with Afghan officials
President Ashraf Ghani
“People die daily, we face barbarism…and without greater cooperation a macabre phenomenon such as Daesh cannot be contained.”
—April 19, 2015, at a press conference with President Rouhani
"Relations between Iran and Afghanistan are historical and long-lasting and have various dimensions.”
"Today, we are facing the serious threat posed by various forms of terrorism…However, the Afghan nation's determination (to stand up against terrorism) is strong.”
—April 19, 2015, at a press conference with President Rouhani
"Our objective is [to see] Afghanistan become a communications hub in the region and regain its former status as the linking intersection in the region."
"Our political will is based on expanding bilateral ties and we have to make efforts to boost common and positive points between the two countries."
"The issues between the two countries should be resolved based on the political will of both governments and based on a timeframe set during this visit.”
"None of our neighbors has been as serious as Iran with regard to the threat of narcotics and no country has fought it like Iran, and we are ready to combat this scourge with the help of Iran.”
"Under your [Khamenei’s] wise leadership, Iran has stabilized its historic identity and we hope that under the aegis of this wise leadership, we will witness closer cooperation between the two countries."
—April 20, 2015, in a meeting with Iranian officials


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