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Friday, December 9, 2016

KerryA Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday finds that Americans favor the U.S.-brokered nuclear deal with Iran — an issue on which Congress and world powers are split.

According to the poll, 44 percent of Americans support the deal reached between six world powers and Iran reached over the weekend; just 22 percent oppose the deal.

Reuters notes that although there is “little trust among Americans toward Iranian intentions,” Americans still hope to avoid any U.S. “military entanglements.” Even if Iran fails to honor the deal, only 20 percent of Americans surveyed in the poll want the United States to use military force against the Islamic republic; 49 percent say they would want the nation to increase sanctions, and another 31 percent believe the U.S. should continue to push for diplomacy.

An overwhelming majority of Americans — 65 percent — say that unless the country is “directly threatened,” it “should not become involved in any military action in the Middle East.” Only 21 percent disagreed.

The poll’s findings are good news for President Barack Obama, who has seen his popularity decline over the past several weeks among Americans. Though he still faces harsh criticism from both Democrats and Republicans wary of Iran, the public support for the nuclear deal — which places restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions — may keep Congress from approving new sanctions that would jeopardize the deal.

The White House has called the deal the “first step” toward ensuring Iran does not develop an atomic bomb — though Tehran denies that it has any intentions of doing so — and preventing military conflict in the Middle East. Still, some believe that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani cannot be trusted to hold up his end of the bargain. Rouhani’s greatest skeptic is Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the new deal a “historic mistake.” Even though the poll finds a large percentage of Americans seem to disagree with Netanyahu’s stance on the program, it also notes that 50 percent support using “military power to defend Israel against threats to its security, no matter where they come from.”

President Obama acknowledges that “huge challenges remain,” but he also maintains that not negotiating would only further “commit ourselves to an endless cycle of violence,” “tough talk,” and “bluster.”

“We cannot close the door on diplomacy, and we cannot rule out peaceful solutions to the world’s problems,” Obama said on Monday. Now, it seems that Americans are behind him.

Photo: Alexander Klein/AFP

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