BBC World Service Poll Shows Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions Cause
Concern, But People Want a Negotiated Settlement
World opinion does not favor aggressive international measures to stop Iran from
developing nuclear weapons, according to a new 25-nation opinion poll conducted
for BBC World Service, including the USA, the UK and Iraq.
The findings show that only one citizen in five (17%), across the 25 countries,
believe that Iran is producing nuclear fuel strictly for energy needs, while 60 percent
assume that Iran is also trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Asked what the international community should do if Iran continues to produce
nuclear fuel, the most popular approach is using only diplomatic efforts (39%), while
only 11 percent favor military strikes.
An average of 72 percent of those questioned said they would be very (43%) or
somewhat concerned (29%) if Iran were to develop nuclear weapons.
The poll also revealed that 52 percent of people across all countries favor a new
effort to have the UN seek to prevent additional countries from developing nuclear
fuel, which can be enriched further for use in nuclear weapons. Only one in three
(33%) favored preserving the existing system (based on the Non-Proliferation
Treaty) that prohibits new countries from developing nuclear weapons but not from
developing nuclear fuel.
The survey of 27,407 respondents across 25 countries was conducted for the BBC
World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with PIPA.
GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork from May through July 2006 (prior to the recent
conflict in Lebanon).
Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the
University of Maryland comments, “Clearly world opinion rejects Iran’s claim that it is
simply trying to develop nuclear energy and is concerned that it will develop nuclear
weapons. But at this point the world public does not favor addressing the problem
through a confrontational approach.”