Public, Experts Agree on Iran

According to Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Ruy Teixeira, the public’s views could not be clearer on Iran: make diplomacy, not war.

The graph above shows that despite the Bush administration’s attempts to ratchet up tensions with Iran, 57 percent of Americans have consistently asserted that they believe Iran is a threat that can be contained with diplomacy. Another 20 percent don’t see Iran as a threat to the United States at the current time at all. And support for military action has fallen recently, registering only 15 percent.

The Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy magazine found similar results in its nonpartisan survey of national security experts last year. Only one percent of experts listed Iran as the primary reason that the United States is becoming less safe, and the same percentage believed that Iran is the biggest threat to U.S. national security.

Experts also agreed that the United States needs to reconsider its current policy toward Iran, rating the United States’ Iran policy at a mere 3.8 on a scale from one to 10. A new report from the Center for American Progress argues that we can greatly improve U.S.-Iran relations by adopting a “contain-and-engage” strategy.

Contain-and-engage would force Iran to choose between more productive relations with the United States and the international coalition against its nuclear program on the one hand, or its enrichment program on the other. The strategy also hedges against the possibility that diplomacy fails, in which case the diplomatic groundwork for a long-term strategy of containing Iran is already prepared.

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