More than 60 percent of the respondents in an opinion poll posted on the irinn.ir website
of Iran's state television news channel on July 3 said they were in favor of Iran stopping its uranium-enrichment program in return for the gradual removal of international sanctions.
The poll has been since removed and replaced by another poll about soccer, apparently after the results became apparent and received attention on social media.
The poll looked like this, posing a single question and offering three choices:
What method do you prefer for facing the unilateral Western sanctions against Iran?
1. Giving up uranium enrichment in return of the gradual removal of sanctions
2. Retaliatory measure by closing the Strait of Hormuz
3. Resistance against the unilateral sanctions for preserving nuclear rights
The majority of respondents -- 63 percent, by early evening, when the accompanying image was made -- had chosen the first option. Meanwhile, 20 percent had voted in favor of the closure of the Strait of Hormuz and 18 percent had chosen the third option.
It is unclear how many people took part in the poll on irinn.ir, which is one of Iran's major news sites. The results appeared to contradict official claims that virtually all Iranians support the country's nuclear ambitions despite unprecedented pressure over its nuclear activities.
Today, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said a plan by Iran's parliament that calls for an effort to shut down the Strait of Hormuz in reaction to European Union's recently enacted oil embargo reflects Iranian public opinion.
Mehmanparast was quoted
by ISNA news agency as saying that the actions of the lawmakers "demonstrate the mentality of our people and reflect their opinions and views about the hostile measures against our country."
Iranians are a proud nation, and indeed many people support the country's nuclear program -- cited by some as a symbol of national pride. But there are also those who think the price has been too high and that Iran should compromise over its nuclear program. Their views, however, are being seemingly ignored by state officials.
The rising pressure and new sanctions that are making life increasingly difficult for ordinary Iranians could lead to more citizens questioning the cost of the country's sensitive nuclear activities.
As one 30-year-old man in Tehran told me: "We should have a nuclear program -- scientific progress is definitely important -- but many are asking what is it good for when we don't have food on our tables?"
-- Golnaz Esfandiari