Saturday, October 28, 2006

Muslim world supports Iran nukes, says poll

Muslim world supports Iran nukes, says poll

June 19, 2006


"WASHINGTON -- The vast majority of Iran's Turkish, Saudi and Pakistani neighbors want the United States to accept a nuclear Iran, according to a new poll of the Muslim world.

Saudi Arabia and other governments in the region are officially opposed to a nuclear-armed Iran, but two-thirds of Pakistanis, one-third of Saudis and more than one-fifth of Turks support the idea, shows a series of polls released on June 14 by Terror Free Tomorrow, a nonprofit and non-partisan organization. Large numbers of people surveyed were undecided, sponsors said.

A plurality of people from the countries polled, including a two-thirds majority in Pakistan, favor the United States and other countries accepting a nuclear Iran if diplomatic efforts to halt Tehran's program fail instead of resorting to military strikes.

"Popular opinion in the region seems to defy conventional wisdom. It may be unprecedented for people of different countries to be willing to accept nuclear weapons by a neighboring nation," Ken Ballen, president of Terror Free Tomorrow, wrote in the report's executive summary.

The report warned that "despite a deep historical enmity between Iran's Persian Shia population and its ethnically diverse Arab, Turkish and Pakistani Sunni neighbors," their acceptance of nuclear-armed Iran "shows that the radical Islamist propaganda, which portrays the West as the enemy of Islam is gaining dangerous ground."

Leading Western governments contend that Iran is secretly and illegally developing nuclear weapons, a charge that Tehran rejects."