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June 8, 2014 1:59 am

Survey: 40 Percent of Iranians Would Give Up Nuclear Weapons Ability in Return for Removal of Sanctions

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Natanz Nuclear Facility in Iran. Photo: Hamed Saber.

A public opinion poll of Iranians showed that 40 percent of those living in the Islamic Republic would give up the ability to produce nuclear weapons in exchange for the full removal of Western sanctions, The New York Times reported on Friday.

However, only 9 percent surveyed said they would be willing to give up the civilian part of the country’s nuclear program for the removal of the sanctions.

Additionally, nearly 40 percent of the Iranians surveyed in the poll, which was conducted by an Israeli group, agreed that Iran should recognize Israel if the Jewish state were to reach a peace accord with the Palestinians and withdraw from disputed territories.

About 70 percent of those questioned said they support the ongoing talks between Iran and world powers on the country’s nuclear program, the Times noted. More than 74 percent also agreed that Iran should establish full trade and diplomatic relations with the United States, and Israel ranked in second place.

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“There is a lot of news in Israel about what the Iranians think and want, but nobody asked them,” said Prof. Alex Mintz, head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, which carried out the survey.

Professor Mintz said the survey’s finding, that the vast number of Iranians are ready to give up military nuclear production, was particularly “encouraging.”

While Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes, Israel considers the nuclear ambitions a threat to its existence.

About a half-dozen Israelis of Iranian origin, who speak Farsi as their first language, conducted the survey by randomly telephoning 530 respondents across Iran in May and early June without revealing that they were Israelis or from where they were calling. The respondents were evenly divided between men and women from urban and rural areas. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

The full poll results are to be unveiled at the annual Herzliya Conference, which opens on Sunday and includes a simulation dealing with the day after a potential deal between the world powers and Iran.

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