COLLEGE PARK — In contrast to deep divisions over the Iran nuclear deal in the United States, three-quarters of Iranians support the agreement and a majority have positive expectations from it, a poll has found.
Only 21 percent of respondents opposed the pact, according to the survey, conducted for the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy.
By contrast, just 21 percent of Americans back the accord with Iran, according to poll released Sept. 8 by the Pew Research Center. Forty-nine percent of Americans disapprove of the agreement, while nearly a third (30 percent) had no opinion.
In the poll of Iranians, nearly a majority (43 percent) felt that the nuclear agreement would be mutually beneficial for all the countries that entered into it. About 37 percent saw it as “mostly a victory” for Iran.
The deal has also positively affected the attitudes of Iranians towards the United States, with a majority believing that it would improve Iran-U.S. relations. “(A) majority approve of Iran and United States collaborating with each other to help the government of Iraq and counter ISIS,” an analysis of the poll said. “A majority of Iranians are optimistic that both the United Nations Security Council and the United States are likely to act in good faith and remove sanctions as the deal requires.”
But Iranians also have misperceptions about the agreement, the poll showed: 9 in 10 believe that all U.N. sanctions will be lifted eventually. A substantial majority of Iranians also told the poll that under the deal, their nation has not agreed to limitations on nuclear research and development work; and 61 percent have the incorrect belief that the International Atomic Energy Agency is not allowed to inspect military sites in Iran.
In fact, the poll found that 94 percent of Iranians felt that it was very important for Iran to develop its nuclear program.
The deal has actually improved the public opinion of President Hassan Rouhani, the poll found.
Three in four Iranians said that the deal has made their opinion of Rouhani much better (35 percent) or somewhat better (40 percent). Only 14 percent said that it worsened their opinion of him.
“I think it is important for Americans to understand what Iranian public opinion is on the issue,” said Nancy Gallagher, interim director at the Maryland center. “We think it’s important to be able to let American policymakers know that the Iranian public backs this deal quite substantially in higher numbers than the United States.”
Ebrahim Mohseni, a research associate at the center, said in a news release that the deal would help Rouhani consolidate his political position. “President Rouhani is widely viewed as having fulfilled his most important campaign promise to get sanctions lifted without abandoning the nuclear program,” he said.
A large number of respondents (67 percent) felt that access to foreign-made medicines and medical equipment will improve as a result of the deal and 73 percent said that it would attract foreign investments in Iran. Three in five felt that unemployment rates would drop.
The survey of 1,000 people was conducted in Aug. 8-18, 2015 by IranPoll.com, an independent Toronto-based opinion research company that is focused on Iranian affairs and public opinion there.