IRAN has claimed BBC hackers doctored a poll by state television which suggested 63 per cent of Iranians want uranium enrichment curbed in return for an end to western sanctions.
Only 20 per cent of those polled supported retaliatory measures such as closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil trade route at the mouth of the Gulf.
The US and Britain have vowed to keep the sea route open, by force if necessary.
The poll results contradictthe Tehran’s repeated assertion that, no matter what the cost, the public supports its nuclear programme, which it insists is solely peaceful in nature.
Tuesday’s online poll abruptly vanished from state television’s irinn.ir website – one of Iran’s most visited news portals – after Persian language social media picked up on the result.
It was replaced by an innocuous poll on the chances for football glory for the Persepolis team under its new coach.
The survey was conducted amid soaring tensions in the Gulf. Iran this week test-fired ballistic missiles it boasted were capable of striking Israeli and US targets across the Middle East, while Washington was reported to have “significantly” beefed up its military presence in the Gulf.
On Wednesday, irinn.ir discredited its own nuclear survey, proclaiming the results did “not represent the whole population of Iran” because only 2,000 people responded.
That excuse, bizarrely, was undermined by Iranian state television itself which insisted there was no such result at all. It instead accused the BBC’s Persian service of hacking its website to fiddle with the poll results.
Other hostile “foreign networks” had joined in the “psychological warfare”, Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, alleged.