Poll: 63 percent in US back military action to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons

Ian Johnston – msnbc May 18, 2012

Some 63 percent of Americans would be in favor of taking military action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, according to a new survey.The Pew Research Center asked 26,210 people in 21 different countries to give their views on Iran’s alleged plans to get nuclear weapons, finding widespread opposition to the idea in the West and also in some countries in the Mideast.

More than nine in 10 people in the United States, U.K., France and Germany were against Iran getting nuclear weapons. Two percent of Americans said they were in favor.

About 61 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of Republicans backed military force to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, with 31 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of Republicans saying this should be accepted if it happens.

The survey found that 76 percent of Jordanians, 66 percent of Egyptians and 62 percent of Lebanese people were also against the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Iran insists its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes, and says it has no intention of making weapons.

“In most countries, there is majority support among opponents of a nuclear-armed Iran for international economic sanctions to try to stop Tehran’s weapons program,” the Pew report laying out the findings, “A Global ‘No’ to a Nuclear-Armed Iran,”  reads.

“The Chinese and the Russians are notable dissenters in this regard. The poll also found majorities in Western Europe and the United States disposed to taking military action to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. Again, the Russians and Chinese disagreed,” it added.

Some 77 percent of Russians were against a nuclear-armed Iran, but of those only 46 percent backed tougher sanctions and just 24 percent approved of military action. In China, 54 percent were opposed, and of those 38 percent backed more sanctions and 30 percent would support the use of force.

Roughly half of Washington’s European allies would support military action to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, the survey found.

Some 50 percent of people in Pakistan were in favor of Iran acquiring nukes, compared to 11 per cent against, with a large number of people not expressing an opinion.

Lebanon was split along religious lines, with 73 percent of Shiite Muslims, 31 percent of Christians and just 5 percent of Sunni Muslims in favor. Iran is overwhelmingly a Shiite country.

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