Half of Americans: War with Iran will happen in next few years

Half of all Americans believe that US will go to war with Iran “within the next few years,” new poll finds.

Ben Ariel,

National flags in Bandar Abbas, Iran
National flags in Bandar Abbas, Iran
iStock

Half of all Americans believe that the United States will go to war with Iran “within the next few years,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Tuesday.

While Americans are more concerned about Iran as a security threat to the United States now than they were last year, few would be in favor of a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military. But if Iran attacked US military forces first, four out of five believed the United States should respond militarily in a full or limited way, the May 17-20 poll showed.

Nearly half - 49% - of all Americans who participated in the poll disapprove of how President Donald Trump is handling relations with Iran, with 31% saying they strongly disapprove. Overall, 39% approve of Trump’s policy.

The survey showed that 51% of adults felt that the United States and Iran would go to war within the next few years, up 8 percentage points from a similar poll published last June. In this year’s poll, Democrats and Republicans were both more likely to see Iran as a threat and to say war was likely.

Iran was characterized by 53% of adults in the United States as either a “serious” or “imminent” threat, up 6 percentage points from a similar poll from last July. In comparison, 58% of Americans characterized North Korea as a threat and 51% characterized Russia as a threat.

Despite their concerns, 60% of Americans said the United States should not conduct a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military, while 12% advocate for striking first.

If Iran attacked, however, 79% said that the US military should retaliate: 40% favored a limited response with airstrikes, while 39% favored a full invasion.

The poll comes amid increased tensions between the US and Iran in recent weeks, after the US military deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East. US officials said the move was made to counter “clear indications” of threats from Iran to American forces in the region.

While Trump has urged Iran’s leaders to talk with him about giving up their nuclear program, he has also made clear he could not rule out a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic.

On Monday, Trump said that Iran would be met with "great force" if it attempted anything against US interests in the Middle East, though he stressed he was willing to have talks with Iran "when they're ready."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later said that he favors talks and diplomacy but not under current conditions.

"Today's situation is not suitable for talks and our choice is resistance only," said Rouhani.




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