About eight in ten Americans think the United States should either increase sanctions on Iran or keep them at their current level, found an Associated Press-GfK poll conducted on the eve of the nuclear deal that Tehran reached with the U.S. and five other world powers.
Under the deal, sanctions will be lifted commensurate with Iran’s commitment to nuclear restrictions and inspections.
Although a slim majority (51 percent) of Americans want the U.S. to maintain a diplomatic relationship with Iran, sanctions against the Islamic Republic were popular among a large number of respondents.
In total, 77 percent of Americans in the poll said sanctions should either be increased (32 percent) or kept the same (45 percent).
That means that on the day before the agreement was announced, nearly 80 percent of Americans were at odds with Obama on lifting sanctions imposed on Iran, a major component of the deal.
The Associated Press (AP) does note that respondents were not asked about the possibility of lifting sanctions in exchange for a nuclear agreement.
However, prior to the announcement of the deal on Tuesday, it was widely reported that reducing sanctions was one of the major concessions that the Obama administration made to Iran to reach the deal.
Democrats and independents were more likely to say sanctions should be kept at their current level, while half of Republicans indicated sanctions against the Shiite powerhouse should be increased.
The poll also revealed that the majority of Americans disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the U.S. relationship with Iran (60 percent) and consider the Islamic Republic either unfriendly (31 percent) or an enemy of America (56 percent).
In other words, six in ten respondents disapprove of Obama’s handling of U.S.-Iran relations, and nearly nine in ten either consider Iran unfriendly or an enemy of the United States.
“Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Republicans registered disapproval of Obama’s handling of the relationship, but about 7 in 10 independents did, too,” reports AP. “Two-thirds of Democrats approved of Obama’s handling of the issue.”
Some Iranians chanted “death to America” as the deal was being negotiated.
“Large majorities of Americans across party lines said Iran is at least unfriendly to the United States,” declares AP. “More than 70 percent of Republicans, half of independents and 45 percent of Democrats said before the nuclear deal that Iran is an enemy.”
“Nearly half of those who said Iran is an enemy, but just 14 percent of those who considered it unfriendly, wanted to increase sanctions,” it continues.
Obama hailed the nuclear deal, assuring that “every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off” for Iran.
Critics say the deal would actually assure that Iran obtains a nuclear arsenal after a delay of several years.
The poll of 1,004 adults was conducted online between July 9 and July 13. Most respondents said they live in a suburban area in the south and consider themselves either a moderate (43 percent) or a conservative (34 percent).
Nevertheless, a slight majority identified as Democrats (29 percent) rather than independent (26 percent) or Republican (25 percent).
Most said they were white (65 percent), female (52 percent), and Christian (89 percent) over the age of 30 (79 percent).