Public Says It’s OK to Meet with Iran

Opinion data shows that Americans think it’s a good idea for the U.S. president to meet with the Iranian president, and that we should use diplomacy over force.

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There’s been considerable debate about whether it’s appropriate for the president of the United States to meet with the president of Iran. In all the back-and-forth about this issue, however, the public’s views are rarely, if ever, mentioned. That’s a shame, since the public has a definite view on the matter.

When asked in a May 19-21 Gallup poll whether it was a good or bad idea for the U.S. president to meet with Iran’s president, the public thought it was a good idea by 20 percentage points—59 percent to 39 percent.



That should give the saber-rattlers pause. The public is apparently not horrified by the idea that the United States should try to talk directly with a hostile power like Iran. And here’s something that should give them even more pause: The public generally does not support relying on military force to solve our problems with Iran.

The last time Gallup asked the public whether the United States should take military action against Iran or rely mainly on economic and diplomatic efforts to get Iran to shut down its nuclear program, the economic/diplomatic approach was preferred over military force by a whopping 73 percent to 18 percent margin.



Those saber-rattlers should give it a rest. The public just isn’t with them on this one. Instead, the public wants to give diplomacy a chance. And after the debacle in Iraq, who can blame them?

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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