The majority of Americans support negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran to restrict the country from building nuclear weapons in exchange for rolling back several sanctions, but they don’t trust Iran to live up to any agreement.
That’s according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that was released this morning—just hours before the deadline for negotiators to strike a deal. The survey said about 59 percent support a deal with Iran, while 31 oppose negotiating with the country.
A majority 59 percent were not confident that such an agreement would really prevent Iran from developing nukes, while 37 percent believed it could (only 4 percent were “very confident” that a deal would prevent Iran from developing nukes).
Policy makers have been working for months on a framework and have been edging closer and closer to a deal. Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said significant progress was being made—though he said “important gaps remain.” Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told reporters that a nuclear deal was “within reach and achievable.”
Republicans have accused the White House of compromising its alliance with Israel in order to cut a deal with Iran, which is fighting ISIS insurgents in Iraq.
There is also a report that James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, removed both Iran and Hezbollah from the U.S. terror list in an unclassified report on February 26th. Hezbollah was accused of bombing the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983 and attacking the military barracks, which killed 299 American and French service people. Both Iran and Hezbollah (once called Islamic Jihad) have been on the U.S. terror list for decades and were included in Clapper's report last year.
While both Republicans support a possible deal with Iran, Republicans in Congress have overwhelmingly supported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position against the potential negotiation’s framework.
Americans have increasingly expressed concern over the prospect of Iran building nuclear weapons. In February, a Gallup poll revealed that three quarters of the public say they view it as a “critical threat” to the United States over the next decade.
U.S. officials have expressed confidence about reaching a deal. However, if they don’t, CIA Director John Brennan warned that there would be “tremendous costs and consequences” for Iran if the deal falls apart and the country pursues development of a nuclear weapon anyway.
“If they decide to go down that route,” he said, “they know they will do so at their peril,” Brennan said last week on “Fox News Sunday.”
If a deal isn’t reached by tonight, the administration says it will press Congress to impose new sanctions on the country. House Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday that they would move quickly to establish the sanctions.
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