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About one-third of Republican voters back nuclear deal with Iran

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Thirty-one percent of Republicans favor a new nuclear deal with Iran, creating a challenge for their party’s lawmakers who largely oppose the framework accord sealed between Tehran and world powers, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday.

Another 30 percent of Republicans oppose the pact, while 40 percent are not sure, according to the poll, which revealed a sharp split in the party as its leaders ramp up opposition to the deal championed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

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The White House has launched a broad effort to convince U.S. lawmakers and other critics to embrace the framework agreement reached last week between Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Many details remain to be worked out for a final deal to be completed by the end of June. Public support will be critical to the White House effort to sway skeptical members of the Republican-controlled Congress, many of whom see the deal as a dangerous concession to a country that sponsors terrorism.

The nuclear deal foresees lifting U.S. and international economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for compliance with restrictions on its nuclear program.

The poll showed Obama has some selling to do among members of his own party, too. Though 50 percent of Democrats supported it, 10 percent were opposed and 39 percent were not sure.

Among independents — an important constituency group for both parties ahead of the 2016 presidential election — 33 percent voiced support, 21 percent registered opposition, and 45 percent said they were unsure about the deal.

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People from both parties diverged substantially in their views of a U.S. rapprochement with Iran.

Sixty percent of Republicans said the United States should hold a hard line with its longtime foe and maintain or expand current sanctions, compared with 23 percent of Democrats who said the same.

Meanwhile, 48 percent of Democrats said Washington was right to improve diplomatic relations with Tehran, compared with 18 percent of Republicans.

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The poll showed little support among members of both parties for using military force as a sole method for preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Five percent of Democrats supported such an option, along with 11 percent of Republicans and 6 percent of independents.

Support for the combined use of diplomatic channels along with military force was higher, however. Fifty percent of Republicans favored that combination, along with 35 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of independents.

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The Reuters/Ipsos online poll surveyed 2,291 American adults between April 3 and April 7, after the Iran deal was announced. Among those polled were 893 Democrats, 803 Republicans and 320 independents.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Leslie Adler)


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2020 Election

‘Disaster and disgrace’: Regretful Trump voter disgusted by his handing of COVID-19 and race relations

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Joe Biden has opened a four-point lead over President Donald Trump in Ohio, which the Republican won by twice that margin four years ago.

A survey conducted by Your Voice Ohio found the Democratic candidate leading Trump by 46-42, and Biden seems to be peeling off some of the president's past supporters in the state, reported the Columbus Dispatch.

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White House suddenly orders ‘mandatory’ COVID-19 testing for presidential staff

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White House employees will now be subject to mandatory testing for COVID-19, an official said on Monday.

In a statement to CNN's Jim Acosta, the unnamed White House official said that staffers working near President Donald Trump would be forced to undergo randomized testing.

"As part of our ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the entire White House Complex, randomized testing of Executive Office of the President staff, which has been ongoing for several months, will become mandatory rather than voluntary," the official said.

White House employees reportedly received an email Monday morning with a stern warning.

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Thais ‘cast a spell’ for democracy in Harry Potter-theme protest

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Dozens of mostly young Thais wearing striped "Harry Potter" scarves rallied Monday against the government, vowing to "cast a spell" for democracy as the nascent movement grows increasingly bold in targeting the powerful elite.

For more than two weeks, young Thais across the country have held near daily protests at universities and town halls to denounce the military-aligned government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

Some have also waded into sensitive territory in recent weeks by holding up placards opposing Thailand's lese majeste law, one of the world's harshest.

It shields the monarchy and its super-rich King Maha Vajiralongkorn from criticism, making open scrutiny of the monarch virtually impossible.

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