Two-thirds of Americans back staying in the Iran deal
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Two-thirds of Americans back staying in the Iran deal

Popular opinion against the Iran nuclear deal, especially among Jews, was at its highest in 2015, when this rally was held in Los Angeles. (Peter Duke)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two-thirds of Americans support the United States remaining in the Iran nuclear deal, according to a CNN poll.

The poll published Friday showed 67 percent of respondents favored their country remaining party to the 2015 agreement, which traded sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran’s nuclear program, and 27 percent said the U.S. should pull out.

“As you may know, the United States and five other countries entered an agreement with Iran aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” said the question posed to 1,010 respondents by SSRS, a research company. “Do you think the U.S. should or should not withdraw from that agreement?”

The poll was conducted Oct. 12-15 — around the time that President Donald Trump said he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the deal. Its margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.

International inspectors say Iran is complying with the narrow parameters of the deal.

Trump said his decision did not mean he was withdrawing from the deal but he wanted Congress to reshape it, although it is unclear if that is legally possible. If Congress did not succeed in amending the deal, Trump said, he would pull the United States out.

The support in the poll is a marked shift from public skepticism of the deal when Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, presented it to the public two years ago. Support in those days scored as low as in the 20s.

SSRS over eight years has asked respondents to rate four countries — Iran, Russia, Cuba and North Korea — as threats to the United States. The perception of Iran as a threat has diminished in recent years. It peaked in September 2015, when the Obama administration was rolling out the deal, and SSRS found 49 percent of Americans viewed the country as a “very serious” threat. Now, that number is just 30 percent.

The most serious threat perceived in the current poll is North Korea, which 62 percent of respondents rated a “very serious” threat. The Trump administration and the North Korean government have exchanged threats of a nuclear attack in recent months.