Iran, the bomb, and U.S. public opinion
July 17th, 2012
10:59 AM ET

Iran, the bomb, and U.S. public opinion

Editor’s note: Stewart Patrick is senior fellow and director of the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations. The original post can be read here. The views expressed are solely those of the writer.

The Obama administration hoped the specter of an oil embargo and increasingly stringent banking sanctions would finally force Iran to come clean on its clandestine nuclear program and end its enrichment activities. No such luck. After the third round of P5+1 negotiations in Moscow ended last month in a stalemate, the White House and Congress are competing to isolate the intransigent Iranian government.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department moved to close holes in the Iran sanctions regime, blacklisting more than a dozen front companies and four individuals that are helping Tehran evade U.S. and EU restrictions on its oil exports, and placing twenty Iranian financial institutions on a watch list.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Congress is pushing for tougher measures aimed at crippling the Iranian economy, arguing that current U.S. efforts are falling short. Taking matters into their own hands, a bipartisan group of legislators began crafting legislation to impede Iranian companies from buying insurance, exporting goods, and securing foreign financial assistance. “What we’ve done so far has been good, but it’s clearly not enough,” concludes Howard Berman, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The pressure has to intensify.”

At the same time, outside groups such as the hawkish Foreign Policy Initiative are ratcheting up calls for preemptive military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. In a recent piece, Jamie Fly and William Kristol advocate for Congress to pass an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran to lend credibility to the U.S. threat of direct action.

More at CFR: Why Russia won't yield on Syria

Amidst the heightened cacophony of policymakers and pundits, there remains strong public support in the United States – and in many countries abroad – for sanctions, but widespread opposition to the use of military force. A new analysis of U.S. and global opinion on nuclear proliferation, produced by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Program on International Policy Attitudes, reveals some insights on the most imminent threat to international peace and security.

– Americans are deeply concerned about Iranian acquisition of the bomb. An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens believe that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and poses a serious threat to U.S. national security. They doubt that a nuclear-armed Iran could be deterred from attacking Israel by the prospect of nuclear retaliation – in other words, they don’t believe that Tehran can be expected to behave rationally. Such anxieties are also shared among European publics, albeit by smaller majorities. Surprisingly, levels of concern about an Iranian nuclear weapon vary across the Muslim world. In Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia, 45 percent of respondents consider the prospect of an Iranian bomb to be a negative development, compared to 70 percent in Jordan.

– Americans favor sanctions over military force by wide margins. When presented with a menu of five policy options to deal with Iran’s nuclear program in 2011, one third of U.S. respondents favored imposing sanctions to stop Iran from producing nuclear fuel, whereas only 13 percent endorsed military action. A slim 8 percent of respondents were willing to accept a nuclear Iran.

– American support for military force rises if depicted as a last resort. In 2011, the German Marshall Fund presented U.S. and European citizens with two options: take “military action against Iran” or “simply accept that Iran could acquire nuclear weapons.” Faced with this scenario, 49 percent of Americans and 42 percent of Europeans favored the use of military force. (This question assumed, somewhat problematically, that military force would necessarily achieve the goal of dismantling the Iranian nuclear program.)

– A majority of Americans support engagement with Iran. By a wide margin, U.S. citizens in a November 2011 poll agreed that “Iran is a threat that can be handled with diplomacy now” (55 percent), rather than with immediate military action (15 percent). Reluctance to contemplate military options may reflect public pessimism about its likely consequences. A 2010 survey by Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey found that four-fifths of Americans believed that military strikes alone would fail to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Huge majorities also thought attacks would increase support for the Iranian regime and potentially lead to retaliatory strikes against U.S. regional allies and the U.S. homeland.

– Most Americans don’t favor an Israeli strike. If support is low for U.S. military action, should the Israelis take care of the problem instead? In a poll released in March 2012, 24 percent of Americans advocated an Israeli strike, while 69 percent favored the continued pursuit of negotiations with Iran by the United States and other major powers. Only 14 percent believed the U.S. government should encourage an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities; instead, 80 percent believed the United States should either remain neutral (46 percent) or actively discourage (34 percent) such a unilateral attack. (To be sure, the desire to remain “neutral” could encompass a range of motivations—including a desire to have Israel do the dirty work, without embroiling the United States).

– Three quarters of Americans prefer that the United States deal with the Iranian nuclear issue through the U.N. Security Council. In a March 2012 poll by the Sadat Chair/PIPA, 74 percent of U.S. respondents preferred the U.N. Security Council to lead the charge against Iran, whereas only 20 percent thought the United States should act primarily by itself.

– Americans can envision a nuclear deal with Iran. Under Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, all countries possess the right to peaceful nuclear energy. Given the proliferation risks and Iran’s of reneging on international agreements, many U.S. officials and experts argue that Iran should only be allowed to import fuel from abroad, rather than produce domestically. American citizens, however, support the idea of allowing Iran to produce nuclear fuel on the condition that the regime accepts intrusive U.N. inspections.

More at CFR: Targeted killings and signature strikes

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Topics: Iran • United Nations • United States

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. the guy

    People should read Kenneth Waltz's article in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:09 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      The whole issue is – Iran's nuclear program wasn't a problem, it's the ambition of the ruling elite in Tehran that worries the West.

      July 18, 2012 at 3:59 am | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        The supreme leader Ali Khamenei might be seen as colourless, but he does have a nuclear vision. Iran's regional neighbours don't trust Tehran and are determined not to let it happen. .

        July 18, 2012 at 4:07 am |
      • Samha

        to hettlingen:

        And you think the world has any trust and faith left in US+Israel?
        They want the same domination and power.
        And they have already proved it by creating 911 (by Mossad), Iraq, Afghan, Yemen/Pakistan drone wars and now they drool for Iran.
        Jews wait for Mosiach while Christians wait for Rapture. Jews/Christians have and do ALREADY kill in name of their religions. So your nonsense about Tehran rulers is humbug. Go chew some tobacco.

        July 18, 2012 at 7:30 am |
      • Samha

        I lie, I lie its off to work I go.

        July 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Angel

      and muslims wait for the Caliphate. In the meantime they lie, cheat, kill...

      July 18, 2012 at 9:28 am | Reply
      • quinterius

        And, Jews and Christians don't lie and cheat? Have you heard of the New Jersey Rabbis who were trading in stolen body parts?

        If you are talking about taqiyya with respect to lying by Muslims, read the Wikipedia article on it. You will find that lying is permitted only about your religion when your life is in danger. The reason is that Sunnis have a mission to kill Shiites since they consider them as infidels. So, please don't talk nonsense.

        July 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
      • Patrick

        Quint – liar.

        July 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  2. Travis

    It'll do my heart good to see for one time that the right-wing thugs in Washington do not get their way. I'm sick and tired of seeing all these countries bowing to the "Great Hilary Clinton Almighty" every time she spews an order at them. Have moral principles become a thing of the past? It appears that way, unfortunately!

    July 17, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      islamists and morals are complete opposites.

      July 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
      • Amikl

        Says you a Jew waiting for Mosiach to arrive in Chosen land. Jews are even worse than those so-called Islamists.

        July 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
      • Angel

        Try this one:
        The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

        July 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
      • U no Angel

        Crack open Jewish Talmud, Old Testament and the regular Bible. The most racist piece of theology belongs to the Jews.
        Christians have spilled most blood "under the Cross" literally also called the Crusade.
        White have killed so many.Even tiny islands are named after Christians saints. the most blood thirsty pigs are White Jews and Christians .

        July 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • Cyrus

        Islam means Peace in Arabic .you can find versus about brotherhood and peace all over Qur'an and it invites Muslims to respect other religions ... Morals are the milestone of Islam's teachings. Qur'an says if you kill someone it is like you have killed all humanity.Al Qaeda doesn't represent Islam .it is a American-made terrorist group to stain Islam.

        July 18, 2012 at 3:13 am |
      • nina

        Cyrus actions speak louder than words. The only things Islam has shown is violence hatred death and ignorance. Anytime a Muslim speaks sweetly it is to deceive and slime a knife in your back. We know over well that all peaceful intentions in the earlier version of the qu'ran have been abrogated withurderous intentions. You are not fooling anyone.

        July 18, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  3. Thinker23

    Israel will not use force against Iran unless as a last resort in care there will be no other way to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. If it happens, however, Israel will have to use enough force to asssure that Iran will be willing or able to retaliate. Israelis are not suicidal.

    This being said, Israel does not have strategic bombers, aircraft carriers or millions of troops meaning that its options to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons are rather limited... and this means that the US and the West will have to act first or face a perspective of a nuclear war in the Middle East where the largest oil fields on the planet are located.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • rayane

      how will do ?

      israel has no possibility to stop the Iranian program, only the slightly disturbing (no guarantee). stop dreaming about the so called isreali invincibility.
      they can barely keep their aircraft in the sky, to reach iran.

      stop your illusions about the military power of israel, israel is a middle power, with a limited projection capacity , his exploits against the Hamas, Hezbollah is not a good reference.

      israel has no way to prevent a devastating riposte ! no way ! the Israelis are well aware

      July 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • rayane

      you r tell us that israel will USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS ? good to know who is the true threat !

      however if israel is foolish enough to use nucleaire in first strike iranian will have right to riposte will all they have, and even to rush toward nuclear weapon and to reliate with equale force

      if israel is foolish enough the world will care about them, by embargo, military mean, and disarmement

      July 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Reply
      • Thinker23

        I'd recommend you to first READ the statements you're trying to reply and only THEN reply to these statements. This way you will not make a fool of yourself at every opportunity.

        July 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  4. Mike

    US go home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    First WMD in Iraq, then Iran Nukes, ...
    Get the hell out of the region you greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  5. George

    Once again the Neocons and right wing nuts are clamoring for military action in the ME. With news media constantly bombarding the public with false or misleading allegations supplied by AIPAC/Joe Lieberman cabal, it is surprising to see that the military action is not favoured by majority of Americans.
    Yes lets go ahead and let our no good congress approve an AUMF that would cost us another $2B and 5,000 young American lives.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • Travis

      Well said George, although the right-wing news media does it's best to inflame U.S. public opinion against the Iranians in order to stir up war fever. It appears that the right-wing news media also works for the M.I.C.(military-industrial-complex) in Washington.

      July 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply
      • rayane

        have confidence in aipac they will not give up, they will return to the charge

        wake up american people, keep your children at home.

        enjoy life, party etc.....enough blood has been shed

        July 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
      • nina

        Are you threatening Americans with bloodshed rayane?

        July 18, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • rayane


      your mind is too perverted by AIPAC you can no longer make the difference between a call to peace and war.

      I said that enough blood has flowed on behalf of Israeli nuclear monopoly, the tragedy of 5000 americans families who have lost a child, a son, a daughter, a father, a mother should not happen again.

      500 000 Iraqis died needlessly, no more blood to please AIPAC

      you can not understand this? of course NO AIPAC lover can't .

      July 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  6. Thinker23

    I have two simple questions for you Saeed:

    First, Iranian leaders repeatedly declared their wishes and intentions to "erase" Israel "from the map". Are you telling us that Iranian leaders are LIARS and that YOU know better what their intentions are? If so can you show your credentials?

    Second, do you have any reasons to believe that Israelis will sit idle waiting to be nuked by Iran?

    July 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
    • rayane

      Dan Meridor information Minister admited publicly: iran never called to wippe israel

      are you more informed than israelis ministers ?

      its time to shut this ugly propaganda

      July 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
    • nina

      Rayane – read and learn
      The Irish Times – Monday, July 2, 2012
      Iran threatens to wipe Israel 'off the face of the Earth'
      The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler has a fascinating article today on the six-year dispute surrounding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration that Israel must be "wiped off the map"–a line that has become shorthand for Iran's belligerent (some would say genocidal) posture toward Israel.
      “They [Jews] tried to kill the principals of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Muhammad.”

      July 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      rayane... I trust IRANIAN leaders more than your interpretation of the words of Israeli information minister... With all due respect, of course.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • QQ


      July 17, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Reply
    • rayane


      you can trust everthing you want i

      the fact was admited by israel information minister Dan Meridor iran never called to wippe israel, that 's a matter of fact

      but feel free to trust everything you want.... even your prograpanda

      July 18, 2012 at 6:07 am | Reply
    • Angel

      Rayane – quote your source or we might think you lie.

      July 18, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
  7. Roy

    AIPAC has got USA by the balls, producing recycled lies over and over. Whata sad country, mate!

    July 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  8. jim

    Thinker...Dont even bother responding to Saeed. I read his brinwashed comments on other threds and he is either a troll or just not to smart. He can't have normal discussion, so don't waste your time.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  9. rayane

    iran is not a threat neither to US nor anyone else, if obama want a compromise on uranium enrichment what, is a lafwful and inalienable right, an agreement can be reached....

    americans do send you childrens to die to meet the netanyahu's outlandish request.....iran will never surrend his inalienable rigth to pacific nuclear enrichment, never.

    keep your childrend safe at home, the blood has already flowed enough, keep your children at home.

    your children, as Iranians childrens have only one life, once dead we can not revive them

    keep them safe at home, warmonger ( who never served ) and netanyhahu don't care about them.....

    July 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  10. nina

    "inalienable "?
    Typical muslim, he/she/it will steal anything to sound "smart" but does not have the intelligence to use it properly.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • hassani1387

      "Inalienable" is what the NPT itself says about Iran's right to possess nuclear technology. And the NPT also says that the right should be exercise "to the fullest extent possible" and "without disrcimination". Iran's nuclear program is perfectly legal:

      July 18, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  11. Illuminati

    CFR AKA the Illuminati controls mass media, their masters job is to convince you with this article that killing innoceint iranians justified. No one that has left a comment on here has no clue and continue to play into the mind game or right left divide in conquer system. Wake up to the fact that international bankers have hijacked our country and have total control over this media company CNN and others. They also control arms trade. Their job is to to divide and conquer us.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  12. rayane


    no more wars for israel:

    iranians threaten to reliate only to relatiate.... with strong power...... but only if israel strike iran first.


    July 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  13. Max

    Iran has not attacked any country for the last 200 years comparing to iSRAEL and western countries. So, I ask – which country(s) has Iran attacked or occupied in the past 200 years. If they are terrorists, and they are out there killing innocent people, guilty of genocide, etc, then by all means we NEED to step in. However, I'm coming up empty handed.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Israel did not attack anyone without being attacked first during its entire history, Max...

      July 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
      • Max

        Because iSRAEL did not exist before. The jewish state established on 1948.iSRAEL has since fought several wars with neighboring Arab states in the course of which it has occupied the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. iSRAEL did not exist before. The jewish state established on 1948. Thinker23

        July 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  14. domingo mojica

    I'd like to see the faces of so many jounalists the day after Iran or one of their cohorts detonates a nuclear device in London Paris or a US city.
    The whole world is watching these lunatics religious zealot and nobody is doing anything to stop this madness every body know the Iranian are up to not good they never been or will but we have chosen to be politically correct and just a watch time will tell what huge mistake was to let these people adquire such a destructive power

    July 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
    • quinterius

      You are a deranged paranoid. If you are not careful, the Cookie Monster is coming to eat you.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:00 am | Reply
      • Angel

        calling Domingo names is juvenile.
        What he says makes sense. If you do not think so, prove him wrong.

        July 18, 2012 at 9:39 am |
      • quinterius

        Angel: Read my later post and the response by reader hassani1387. I don't have the time to keep explaining the facts of life to paranoids who believe every piece of garbage that comes out of Israel or the neo-con crowd in Washington.

        July 18, 2012 at 10:48 am |
      • Patrick

        You are so right. You have said plenty and you do not need to re-explain it.

        July 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  15. Lethewarmongeringchickenhawksdothefighting

    That's my comment.

    July 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  16. U r White racists Jews/Christians

    I liked the answer of this German Muslim scholar when he was asked about terrorism and Islam : He said :

    Who started the first world war ? Muslims ?

    Who started the second world war ? Muslims ?

    Who killed about 20 millions of Aborigines in Australia ? Muslims ??

    Who sent the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ? Muslims ??

    Who killed more than 100 millions of Indians in North America ? Muslims ??

    Who killed more than 50 millions of Indians in south America ? Muslims ??

    Who took about 180 millions of African people as slaves and 88% of them died and was thrown in Atlantic ocean ? Muslims ?? No , They weren't Muslims!!!

    First of all, You have to define terrorism properly... If a non-Muslim does something is crime. But if a Muslim commits the same..he is a terrorist... So first remove this double standard...then come to the point!!! , . . .

    July 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply
    • Fari

      Exactly! Words of wisdom.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • Who's Doing The Killing Now.


      July 20, 2012 at 9:49 am | Reply
  17. Matt A.

    Regarding public opinion, be careful what you wish for: We're not long out of Iraq, and Afghanistan is still a vexing problem in light of worldwide terror influences.

    I wouldn't attach a great deal of importance in public-linked polling. As we've all witnessed, politicians often ignore the electorate.

    The Iran regime will become more unstable, what with hyprinflation and a depressed world economy. So world events
    may very well alter the leadership landscape the religious leadership.

    I would guess that Ahmadinejad is exploring options outside Iran–largely to his perceptions of imminent conflict with the West, and his lack of power within the ruling elite.

    July 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Reply
    • quinterius

      Don't hold your breath. Cuba with no resources has survived 60 years of sanctions. Iran with enormous resources and a massive industrialization effort will survive any set of stupid sanctions.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
      • Patrick

        And Cuba has advanced in all those years.

        July 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  18. Steve Brown

    Iran lacks the centrifuges to enrich uranium to weapons grade. They are only interested in cheap nuclear power; and Israel wants to power the electric grid. Iran doesn't need nuclear bombs; a couple of incendiary bombs would burn Israel to the ground. They lack the ability to put out fires, witness their recent forest fire. It was Europeans that orchestrated the Holocaust. Why didn't they give them Bulgaria? The Middle East wasn't in the war. We Americans are horrible war mongers, far worse than Hitler. Muslims still remember the genocides of Moses. According to the Old Testament, read it.

    July 17, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  19. quinterius

    This article is almost identical to an article that appeared in the Atlantic. As I said there, it is a litany of many of the fairy tales about Iran. Don't these pundits ever check their facts? So, the stupid Obama administration is hoping that, "sanctions would finally force Iran to come clean on its clandestine nuclear program and end its enrichment activities." This statement is hilarious since Iran is the most inspected country in the world and the IAEA has never found anything wrong with the Iranian nuclear program.

    When will people understand that all this ballyhoo about Iran has absolutely nothing to do with the Iranian nuclear program, which is entirely peaceful from all evidence. If Iran shuttered its nuclear program tomorrow, none of the sanctions would come down and numerous other demands would be made on Iran. I'll let the intelligent reader determine what the real reason is that Obama is perpetuating this farce.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Reply
    • nina

      I bet most intelligent readers can see through your slimy persona.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:31 am | Reply
      • hassani1387

        Too bad for you, everything Quinterius wrote is accurate: After YEARS of intensive inspections, the only conclusion the IAEA has actually come to is that there's no nuclear weapons program in Iran. The US can promote BS speculation about Iran's "intentions to acquire capabilities" all it wants, Iran's nuclear program is perfectly legal:

        July 18, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • rayane

      NO more want for AIPAC- israel


      July 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  20. Muin

    Britain has Queen who can say Austerity is there to stay. American President ought to stick by cuts and expiration of tax cut even though he has to run for election because there is never going to be a grand compromise. In the aftermath of citizen vs united ruling, it would be impossible for president obama or romney to get 60 senators to agree on anything as big as debt fixing grand deal.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:13 am | Reply
  21. christian bray

    To Muin.
    The British Queen does not rule Britain or any other country, we are a democratic country run by an elected government, your ignorance makes you look foolish

    July 18, 2012 at 5:25 am | Reply
  22. nina

    You are pretending to be saeed. You are lying so that his rantings can be rehabilitated. You cannot change the fact that he has threatened to kill and burn our children.lying will not change the facts.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:24 am | Reply
  23. Lee

    No mention of the Iranian Oil Bourse in Kish? Iran is willing to trade oil for other currencies than the US dollar including gold from Turkey and India. This will destabilize the currency of the United States and is the cause of the current sanctions (which haven't been approved by the UN, by the way).

    July 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  24. Aaron Chaney

    Romney vs. Frankenstein (Obama)

    Put simply, better the devil you don't know. Vote Romney.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
    • I want to see Robme's Tax Returns

      He's hiding something. You know he is.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply
  25. jfreeman

    Put on ;your thinking caps now:

    military trained personell in bulgaria eliminated vs university teacher.
    israel has many enemies because they are in a land grab and don't want peace. they got what they deserved. whoever did it deserves praise for taking the higher moral position.
    Many christian americans agree along with regular secular citizens. clap clap

    July 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  26. bkingsbury

    For all those who need enlightenment, the ship lane that passes through the straits of hormutz is in IRANIAN territorial waters!!!!
    While the world economy functions better if an agreement is reached, they have the right to control the traffic just like we do in the missippi or boston harbor, or others do in the panama or suez canals. lookup the straits of hormuz on Wikipedia and keep the following in mind.
    Years ago when russia planted a flag on the polar ice receded continental shelf and claimed ownership, canada, norway, iceland, finland and others chimed in. hillary made a statement that the internationally recognized counrty's border ends at the 200 mile from coastline mark (and split evenly when bordered by others as in the straits). So iran has every right to "discover oil" and erect a gauntlet of platforms in the straits if they choose to do so. This, and in light of the fact that dubai could dredge their own side of the channel instead of spending their money on dredging to create the palms resort islands, shows uae, saudia arabia, bahrain, dubai, qatar etc could all avoid conflict if they just quit being bullies and fix the problem on their side.
    so be educated when the hype of the straits closure or mining fans the flames – the problem lies with us and our allies – not the iranians.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  27. Tinnitus cureman

    Most Americans want peace.

    July 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  28. Tinnitus cureman

    Need this to be on the news so everyone hears it.

    July 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Reply
  29. OffTheWorldPolitics

    Dr. Zakaria, what will you do when Iran either A. uses terrorists to detonate a bomb. or B. uses a nuclear bomb as a deterrent while it pursues hegemony in the middle east? Both outcomes present catastrophic results for the United States.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  30. Harry

    Go ahead, send your sons to die for the elite's lies. Iran is not a threat to the US. It is the US who is threatening Iran. Look at the map and US involvement in undermining Iranian society from the Mossadeq to Iran Air 655. When a country is at war constantly, don't expect the people to behave ina peaceful manner. the US got want coming to them for killing over a million people in the last 2 decades. That is not including Vietnam and all the other war ccrimes.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply

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