ADL Poll: Europeans Increasingly Worried By Iran; More Than 7 Out Of 10 Support Stricter Sanctions

New York, NY, March 8, 2012 … An Anti-Defamation League (ADL) opinion poll of 5,000 Europeans in 10 countries found that more than 8 out of 10 Europeans continue to be concerned about Iran developing a nuclear weapon and more than 7 out of 10 expressed strong support for stricter sanctions.

The telephone survey of adults in ten European countries -- Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom was conducted from Jan. 2-31, 2012 by First International Resources.  The margin of error ranges from +/- 4.43 to +/- 4.85 depending on the specific country.

The poll found that seventy-one percent (71%) of Europeans support imposing sanctions against Iran until it agrees to suspend its nuclear program.  Support for sanctions was strongest in Norway, the Netherlands and Spain, while the highest opposition to sanctions was found in Germany, where 29 percent of respondents opposed stricter sanctions, according to the ADL poll.

"Europeans are rightly worried about the threat of a nuclear Iran.  The European Union and individual European governments have put strong sanctions in place, and we see clear popular support for even stricter sanctions," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "Iran's offer of negotiations could be a sign that sanctions are beginning to affect the regime's thinking, but the possibility of talks should not be a reason to hold back on continually increasing the pressure until Iran verifiably abandons its nuclear weapons program.

"European leaders should know that even more intensive measures to compel Iran to comply with its obligations would be welcomed by their citizens," Mr. Foxman said.  "President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and European leaders have all said that getting Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions through negotiations is the result they want in order to avoid having to take military measures.  It is imperative to immediately implement existing sanctions programs and adopt and implement additional measures in order to raise the chances for a peaceful outcome.  Iran has not stopped its nuclear program in the run up to negotiations and the strong sentiment among Europeans for imposing stricter sanctions should be a clear signal to the international community to accelerate the implementation of measures already adopted and move quickly to impose even more economic pressure."

Country by Country Findings on Iran

In response to the question, "Are you very concerned, somewhat concerned, somewhat unconcerned, or not at all concerned about Iran developing nuclear weapons?" the 2012 survey found the following responding "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned:"ADL's European polling on Iran in 2007, 2009, and 2012 have all shown high and generally increasing levels of concern about Iran's nuclear program (though not all countries were polled in all three surveys).

  • Austria 87%, up from 79% in 2009 and 75% in 2007
  • France 80%, up from 76% in 2009 and 81% in 2007
  • Germany 88%, up from 83% in 2009 and 82% in 2007
  • Hungary 81%, up from 70% in 2009 and 81% in 2007
  • Italy 92%, up from 89% in 2007
  • The Netherlands 81%, up from 74% in 2007
  • Norway 87%
  • Poland 88%, up from 84% in 2009 and 82% in 2007
  • Spain 88%, up from 80% in 2009 and 81% in 2007
  • The United Kingdom 88%, up from 85% in 2009 and 88% in 2007

In response to the question, "Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose imposing stricter economic sanctions against Iran until it agrees to suspend its nuclear program?" the 2012 survey found the following responding "strongly support" or "somewhat support:"

  • Austria 67%, up from 37% in 2009
  • France 69%, up from 54% in 2009
  • Germany 66%, up from 47% in 2009
  • Hungary 68%, up from 60% in 2009
  • Italy 67%, up from 37% in 2009
  • The Netherlands 75%
  • Norway 78%
  • Poland 71%, up from 61% in 2009
  • Spain 74%, up from 57% in 2009
  • The United Kingdom 71%, up from 49% in 2009

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.