TEHRAN, Jan. 09 (Press Shia) – Donald Trump’s election as the president has raised the speculations on US withdrawal of nuclear deal, yet a new survey has proved the opposite.
A new survey from the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation (PPC) finds that nearly two thirds of Americans oppose withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and seeking to negotiate a better deal, as has been proposed by the president-elect.
“Though President-elect Trump campaigned on ripping up the deal and seeking to negotiate a better one, the majority of Americans would rather continue with the deal as long as Iran continues to comply with its terms,” said PPC Director Steven Kull.
Respondents, a sample society of 2980, were first presented the main terms of the deal that was negotiated between the UN Security Council plus Germany (5+1) and Iran over its nuclear enrichment program and asked to evaluate arguments for and against withdrawing and seeking to renegotiate.
The provided background noted that the main focus of the deal was on limiting Iran’s capacity for enriching uranium, which could be used for nuclear weapons. The respondents were also provided with some details that Iran had agreed to stay committed to, including:
– Recommit to never build a nuclear weapon.
– Limit its uranium enrichment to the low level that is useful for nuclear energy, but well below the level needed for nuclear weapons. After 15 years Iran will be able to enrich to a somewhat higher level, such as for medical purposes, but not to develop a military capability.
– Reduce by 98 percent its stockpile of low-enriched uranium—and keep it that small for 15 years.
– Reduce its number of centrifuges (the devices that enrich uranium) by two-thirds—keeping only its older and slower centrifuge models–for 10 years. The other centrifuges will go into storage monitored by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
– Allow intrusive inspections of all nuclear facilities to ensure that the terms of the agreement are being met.
– Allow inspection of any site, including military bases, where inspectors have evidence of suspicious activity, although Iran can appeal to a commission of the signing countries.
– In exchange, the UN and the EU agreed to lift their nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. The US agreed to suspend its nuclear-related sanctions, but its other sanctions remain. If Iran is found to be in violation of the agreement, the nuclear-related sanctions will automatically come back into force.
The information also underlined that Iran has remained committed to all requirements of the deal till now.
Two arguments were then offered to the respondents, one in favor of US withdrawing the deal and one in favor of continuing and renegotiating it, and both were found convincing by majorities. However, the argument for US withdrawal was more convincing for Republicans (GOP 72.9% – Dem. 34.2%) and the argument for renegotiation sounded more convincing for Democrats (Dem.78.7% – GOP 46.8%).
When asked about the possibility of other UN members in withdrawing or continuing the deal if US withdraws it, with a general optimism, 57.8% found it totally likely while 40.2% said that would be totally unlikely. Both majority of Republicans and Democrats found it totally likely (GOP 63.2% – Dem. 51.9%). In other words ix in ten expressed optimism that other UN members could be persuaded to join in the effort to renegotiate.
The respondents were also asked how likely it would be that Iran agree to renegotiate the deal and make more concessions if US decides to withdraw. The perspective was negative in this regard and a total of 68.8% found it completely unlikely and only 29.4% thought that Iran would be ready to negotiate the deal. Here again there was a consensus between Republicans and Democrats where 64.4% of Republicans and 74.6% of Democrats said there would be no possibility of Iran’s renegotiation. Yet the Republicans have been more optimistic on the issue with 34.3% (Dem. 24%).
Lastly, when asked on two final options that US should:
1. Withdraw from the current deal and seek to negotiate a new deal
2. Continue with the deal as long as Iran complies with the terms
Republicans agreed with withdrawal with a total of 58.1% while Democrats opposed the option with 13.2% agreement. The other option, continuing the deal, was mostly welcomed by Democrats with 85.6% (GOP 40.4% – Independents. 58.6%.)
To put it simple, 69 percent said it was unlikely that Iran would agree to renegotiate the deal and make more concessions. This was a bipartisan perspective that included 64 percent of Republicans as well as 75 percent of Democrats, according to the survey.
When asked for their final recommendation, 64 percent recommended continuing with the deal as long as Iran continues to comply with the terms, while 34 percent opted for withdrawing and seeking to negotiate a better deal.
While an overwhelming 86 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents favored continuing with the deal, only 40 percent of Republicans concurred. Fifty eight percent of Republicans favored withdrawing and seeking to renegotiate.
Interestingly, support for renegotiating was high among Republicans, though even among those who favored renegotiation, 57 percent said it was unlikely that the negotiations would succeed, the survey said.
The survey was fielded December 22-28, 2016 with a sample of 2,980 respondents drawn from Nielsen-Scarborough’s probability-based national panel (which was recruited by mail and telephone using a random sample of households). The margin of error is +/- 1.8 percent.