West less willing to confront Iran


Western popular support for tougher sanctions or military strikes against Iran has dropped significantly, a poll found.

The BBC World Service released results of a poll of 21 countries regarding international efforts to tackle the Iranian nuclear program, and found that in 13 there was less enthusiasm for confronting Tehran compared to last year.

In the United States, support for a diplomatic crackdown or airstrikes on Iran fell to 60 percent from 66 percent in 2006; in Britain, to 34 percent from 43 percent; in Germany, to 37 percent from 46 percent; and in Australia, to 42 percent from 52 percent.

Pollsters said popular views appeared to have been affected by the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate late last year. The report by U.S. intelligence agencies found that Iran had shelved a military nuclear program in 2006.

The Bush administration has played down those findings, and the U.N. Security Council passed a third round of sanctions, though many Western observers believe that diplomatic pressure has run its course.

Three countries, led by Israel, showed increased support for tougher action. Israel showed a rise from 62 percent to 71 percent; in South Korea it went from 47 percent to 53 percent; and in Turkey, from 21 percent to 33 percent.

Among the 21 countries, the average support for stepped-up sanctions was 26 percent and for military action, 8 percent.

The poll had 32,000 respondents and margins of error from 2.4 percent to 4.4 percent.



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