Europeans and Americans Share Concerns About Iran’s Nuclear Program

Nov 18, 2009

As international pressure mounts on Iran to halt its nuclear program, Americans and Europeans generally express serious concerns about the potential threat from a nuclear-armed Iran. However, these fears are somewhat muted in Russia -- a nation that will be crucial to any effort to impose new sanctions on Iran.

14-nation survey by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project, conducted Aug. 27 through Sept. 24, finds worries about Iran developing nuclear weapons most common among Americans: 82% say that this would be a major threat to the well-being of the U.S. Similarly, concerns are widespread in Western Europe – large majorities in Spain (81%), Germany (79%), Italy (78%) and France (74%) view Iran's emergent nuclear capabilities as a major threat.

This view is less common among Eastern Europeans. Still, 69% of Czechs view Iran's potential nuclear capabilities as a threat, as do more than six-in-ten in Poland (65%), Bulgaria (63%) and Lithuania (62%). Roughly half in Slovakia (52%) and Hungary (46%) express worry about Iran developing a nuclear capacity.

By contrast, there is less concern about this issue in Russia, which, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has veto power over any UN effort to impose sanctions on Iran. Just over four-in-ten Russians (41%) say Iran's potential nuclear status poses a major threat to their country, while 48% deem it only a minor threat or not a threat at all. Ukrainians are even less worried – only 27% say Iran's emergent nuclear status is a major threat to their country, while nearly half (48%) say it is a minor danger or no danger at all. Many in Ukraine say they don't know (26%).

Read the full commentary Europeans and Americans Share Concerns About Iran’s Nuclear Program on the Pew Research Center's Web site.

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