Poll finds majority of Arab world views nuclear-armed Iran positively

A new poll shows that the percentage of the Arab world that thinks a nuclear-armed Iran would be good for the Middle East has doubled since last year and now comprises the majority.

The 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll found that 57 percent of respondents not only believe that Iran’s nuclear program aims to build a bomb but also view that goal positively, nearly double the 29 percent who said so in 2009. The percentage of those who view it negatively fell by more than half, from 46 percent to 21 percent.

The survey was conducted June 19 through July 20 by University of Maryland professor Shibley Telhami in conjunction with the polling firm Zogby International. It included 3,976 respondents from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.6 percentage points.

The findings stand in marked contrast to the stances of most Sunni Arab leaders, who fear the regional implications of an Iranian bomb.

Last month, The Washington Times reported on unusually blunt remarks from the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the U.S., who said he favored air strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites by U.S. or Israeli forces despite the consequences for the region.

“If you are asking me, ‘Am I willing to live with [the fallout from outside military action] versus living with a nuclear Iran?,’ my answer is still the same: ‘We cannot live with a nuclear Iran,’ ” Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba said duri… >>>

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