As Iran and world powers return Thursday to the negotiating table to discuss the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, a Gallup survey released Wednesday shows that Iranians support their country's nuclear program even though they are suffering under international sanctions.
Though an overwhelming majority (85 percent) of Iranians said international sanctions are hurting their livelihood, more than two thirds nevertheless support their country's push to develop nuclear power, according to the survey.
Half of the respondents said the sanctions are severely threatening their livelihoods, but a higher number said international measures are hurting the livelihood of Iranians overall.
The number of Iranians who support developing nuclear capabilities drops when the question does not include mention of international sanctions, pointing to the role of nationalism in Iranian politics. When asked if they support Iran developing nuclear capabilities for military purposes, 34 percent expressed support and 56 percent were supportive of it for non-military purposes. These figures contrast with the 68 percent who said they support the nuclear program in the face of international pressure.
Respondents were also asked who, in their opinion, holds responsibility for the sanctions. Nearly half (46 percent) said the United States is primarily responsible, while 13 percent blamed their own government and 9 percent blamed Israel.
The second round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers - Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany - begins Thursday at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva.
Iran has unveiled a general proposal that would limit its nuclear program. Negotiators for the Islamic Republic have said Tehran would be willing to implement the steps as a trust-building measure as the talks toward a permanent solution continued.
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