Poll finds strong support for Iran negotiations

Poll finds strong support for Iran negotiations
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More than two-thirds of Americans back diplomatic negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, as congressional Republicans continue to call for a role in that outcome, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

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Sixty-eight percent of Americans favor direct diplomatic talks with Tehran, but that number has dropped 8 percentage points since September 2013. Twenty-nine percent of Americans oppose negotiations, up from 21 percent in September 2013.

The poll comes after a group of 47 Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonLawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Five things to know about Iran's breaches of the nuclear deal Hillicon Valley: Trump gets pushback after reversing course on Huawei | China installing surveillance apps on visitors' phones | Internet provider Cloudflare suffers outage | Consumer groups look to stop Facebook cryptocurrency MORE (R-Ark.) addressed an open letter to Iranian leaders that characterized any agreement between the White House and Iran as temporary, unless it's approved by Congress. The senators said any agreement could be easily voided by Congress or a future president, unless it's codified into law.

Democrats have accused the senators of trying to sandbag negotiations ahead of an important March deadline. During a recent interview with VICE News, President Obama said he was "embarrassed" for those who signed onto the letter.

"For them to address a letter to the ayatollah, who they claim is our mortal enemy, and their basic argument to them is, ‘Don’t deal with our president because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement,’ that’s close to unprecedented," he said.

While Iran's nuclear negotiators reportedly confronted American representatives about that letter during a recent round of talks, Americans are skeptical that the letter made a significant difference.

Forty-four percent polled said the letter had no impact on the negotiations, while 32 percent said it hurt U.S. efforts.