Americans don’t want Congress to sabotage Iran deal – new poll

Reuters / Jim Bourg
Although some lawmakers, including Democrats, believe Congress should have a say in any potential removal of Iranian sanctions, most Americans say Congress should not keep a possible a nuclear deal from being implemented.

Roughly 61 percent of Americans support the framework agreement struck between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany) earlier this month, according to a new poll conducted by Hart Research. Thirty-four percent of voters said they were against the deal.

READ MORE: Sanctions on Iran will be lifted ‘only in stages’, says Washington

The poll was commissioned by the liberal advocacy group Americans United Change and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

After surveying more than 800 registered voters, Hart Research found that Democrats overwhelmingly supported the deal, with 81 percent of respondents in favor. Fifty-eight percent of independents also supported the deal, while just 41 percent of Republicans believe it should go ahead.

Americans were also broadly in agreement regarding Congress’ potential spoiler role in the negotiations. About 65 percent of voters said Congress should allow the Obama administration to move forward with a finalized deal, while just 30 percent said lawmakers should block the deal.

Again, Democrats and Independents largely believed Congress should not get in the way, but Republicans were almost split down the middle. About 47 percent said Congress should let the deal move forward, while 48 percent said it should be blocked.

Hart Research chose to describe the framework deal in a similar way to how the Obama administration has categorized it. Respondents were told that a nuclear deal would keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, establish short-notice inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and lift sanctions gradually as long as Tehran complies.

READ MORE: President Rouhani: Iran won't sign final nuclear deal unless all sanctions lifted

Notably, the Iranians have described the terms of the framework deal differently in some respects. For example, they have said that sanctions should be lifted immediately following the onset of the agreement. Recently, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei also mentioned that international inspectors would not be allowed to enter militarized sites.

Importantly, the Hart Research poll found that support for the deal remained strong even when those surveyed had heard criticism surrounding it – such as the claim that it doesn’t do enough to restrict Tehran’s ability to develop a bomb or that the deal is not permanent and that more sanctions are needed to get a more favorable outcome.

After hearing both sides of the argument, including a proposition that military action could be a better option, 57 percent of voters said they agreed with those supporting the deal. Thirty-eight percent agreed with those opposing it.