Terrorism, Iranian nuke program rank top threats by Americans

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WASHINGTON: Most Americans regard international terrorism and Iran’s nuclear weapons program as top threats to the United States in the next 10 years, finds a Gallup poll released on Friday.

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Seventy-seven percent of Americans list international terrorism as the most critical threat to the country in the next decade, down 4 percentage points from 2013, according to the Feb. 6-9 survey.

A clear majority of Americans have consistently viewed terrorism as a critical threat since Gallup started the survey 10 years ago, although slightly fewer perceive this today.

International terrorism, which has manifested itself worldwide from time to time in the new millennium, has always ranked near the top of the list of perceived threats, even though no major international terrorist attacks have occurred in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Gallup said.

At the same time, 76 percent of Americans regard Iran’s development of nuclear weapons as the top threat in the next decade, down 7 percentage points from last year, the poll shows.

This decline was largely due to the positive results of the nuclear talks between Washington, Tehran and several other nations over the last several months, raising hopes of finding a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of Americans regard Islamic fundamentalism as a critical threat, followed by a conflict on the Korean Peninsula (53 percent) and China’s economic power (52 percent).

Over the past decade, the perceived threat of Islamic fundamentalism to American interests has risen. The percentage of Americans now believing it as a critical threat was up four percentage points from last year and six points from 2004.

Now less than half of Americans (46 percent) believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be a critical threat to U.S. interests in the next decade. “This belief has been steady in recent polls, but is down from 58 percent in 2004,” Gallup said. PNA

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