Iranians Support Restarting Nuclear Program if US backs out of Deal

By Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Iranians Support Restarting Nuclear Program if US backs out of Deal

Iranians’ approval of the 2015 nuclear deal is growing, but so is their appetite for restarting the country’s suspended program if the Donald Trump administration stops implementing the accord.

According to a survey released by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and IranPoll.com, 67.1% of Iranians now approve of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). That compares with 55.4% who said so soon after Trump’s election and 62.6% a year ago.

At the same time, some 55.4% of Iranians would approve of their government restarting aspects of the nuclear program that were limited by the JCPOA if the United States walks away from the deal. That’s up from 48.4% before Trump’s election.

The change in outlook comes amid growing signs that Trump may be getting ready to act on his comments disparaging the nuclear accord. The president has repeatedly challenged the recommendations of his top foreign policy advisers to continue implementing the JCPOA, telling The Wall Street Journal on July 25 that he believed Iran was not complying and suggesting that he might not provide the necessary recertification in October.

Ebrahim Mohseni, a research scholar at CISSM and a lecturer at the University of Tehran, told Al-Monitor, “While Iranians hope for the best and are optimistic about the JCPOA, data suggests that they are ready for the worst and would support some form of a retaliation if the United States abrogates the deal.”

In January, in an earlier University of Maryland poll, a large majority of Iranians predicted that the Trump administration would violate the JCPOA. Instead, Trump has twice grudgingly recertified Iranian compliance and waived the requisite US sanctions.

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