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U.S. Dislikes Iran But Doesn't Want to Bomb

A new poll from Angus Reid (pdf) finds that over two thirds of Americans think Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon but only a quarter of those polled believe military force is warranted to stop them. Not surprisingly, Iran ranks as Americans' "least favorite" country when given a choice of 12 other nations, including Axis of Evil counterpart North Korea. Among the poll's other findings:

Despite these strong negative feelings and suspicions, Americans are still not in favor of any type of military engagement or intervention with Iran. In fact, the most frequent option Americans recommend to deal with Iran is engaging in diplomatic negotiations (30%, up slightly from 26% in January 2010), followed by economic sanctions (20%). Only five per cent of respondents would do nothing, claiming that Iran poses no threat to the world.

Across the country, 16 per cent of Americans would consent to launching military strikes to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, and seven per cent would authorize a full-scale invasion of Iran and removing the current government.

There are some striking differences when party allegiance is taken into consideration. More than half of Democrats would rely on negotiations and sanctions to deal with Iran (56%), while two-in-five Republicans (40%) would prefer to launch strikes or authorize an invasion. Independents are more likely to choose diplomacy and sanctions (52%) than air strikes or an invasion (19%).