Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reminded Congress earlier this week that U.S. intelligence estimates indicate that Iran has not yet decided to build a nuclear weapon. Meanwhile, U.N. nuclear inspectors report that their recent talks in Tehran made for a “good trip” and scheduled a second round of talks for later this month, and a flurry of recent articles from experts have cast doubt on the effectiveness of a U.S. or Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear program.
While some of the more hawkish rhetoric and efforts to drive forward on unilateral sanctions continue to come out of Congress, the new United Technologies/National Journal “Congressional Connection Poll,” found that public support for a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is extremely low.
Forty-seven percent of respondents favored economic sanctions against Iran, only 13 percent said the U.S. should “go farther and take covert action against Iran such as sabotage and assassination of scientists working on their nuclear program,” and 17 percent would support “tak[ing] military action against Iran, including bombing weapons facilities inside the country.”
The combination of E.U. sanctions banning oil purchases from Iran and tighter U.S. sanctions led 60 percent of National Journal’s “National Security Insiders,” in a separate poll, to conclude that the new sanctions regime will stave off the need for military action.