News / Middle East

The Decline of Iran in Muslim Eyes

Pollster James Zogby's latest public opinion survey shows Iran losing support among Arabs and Muslims.Pollster James Zogby's latest public opinion survey shows Iran losing support among Arabs and Muslims.
x
Pollster James Zogby's latest public opinion survey shows Iran losing support among Arabs and Muslims.
Pollster James Zogby's latest public opinion survey shows Iran losing support among Arabs and Muslims.
TEXT SIZE - +
Mohamed Elshinnawi
— Iran, once admired by many many in the Middle East for resisting U.S. influence in the region, is rapidly losing support among the Arab and Muslim public, according to a new public poll.

The survey was conducted by the Zogby Research Service of Washington D.C., for the Arab American Institute. It measured public attitudes about Iran and its nuclear program in 20 Arab and Muslim countries.

According to the data, there was a collapse of support for Iran in most Arab countries in 2012 compared to 2006. In previous polls, Iran was admired by the “Arab street” for its opposition to the United States and Israel. In only six countries — Yemen, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria and Libya — did a majority view Iran favorably.

The most negative views of Iran were held in Saudi Arabia (84 percent), Qatar (79 percent), Turkey (77 percent), Azerbaijan (75 percent), Jordan (74 percent) and Pakistan (71percent) as well as Palestinians (70 percent), according to the poll.

“Syria is the nail in the coffin of Iran’s favorable rating in the region, but also the Iranian involvement in Bahrain and Iraq played a role,” said pollster James Zogby. “Iran used to be seen as a resistance to the West, but now is looked at as a provocative meddlesome noise.”

Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East program at the Wilson Center, where the polling results were made public, said the findings are bad news for the Iranian regime.

“These numbers will have a sobering effect on the Iranian government,” said Esfandiari. She said a turning point in the of support for Iran came in 2009, when Tehran harshly put down pro-democracy demonstrators who accused the government of rigging that year's presidential elections.


Iran’s Nuclear Program

On the question of Iran's nuclear program, the Zogby poll found that more than three-quarters of respondents in Bahrain (78 percent), the United Arab Emirates (80 percent), Oman (80 percent), Saudi Arabia (89 percent), Qatar (92 percent) and Kuwait (97 percent) agreed that “the Middle East would be more secure if it were a nuclear free zone.” Non-Arab Muslim nations registered similar attitudes: Azerbaijan (86 percent), Pakistan (85 percent) and Turkey (82 percent).

The only countries in which respondents said the Middle East would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons were Yemen and Libya.


Zogby said the polling results could be useful for U.S. policy-makers.

“The U.S. should focus on the fact that the Iranian threat is not to Israel, it is to the entire region,” he said. “The degree to which the story becomes about Israel, the Iranian regime wins; the degree to which it becomes about Iran and the region, the Iranian regime loses.”

Sanctions or Military Action

The Zogby poll showed there is a widespread support for sanctions to stop Iran should it persist in advancing its nuclear program.

“There is no country in which a strong majority supports military action against Iran to stop its nuclear program,” Zogby said. He added, however, that “the percentage of those who would support military strikes has increased since 2006, with a deep division among Sunni and Shia communities on this question. A majority of Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan would support the military option.”

But Marc Lynch, a Middle East scholar at George Washington University, said the numbers should not be interpreted as a “green light for military intervention.”
Zogby agreed, saying that any U.S. strike on Iran would dramatically increase support for Tehran and opposition to the United States.

“Military action would be fatal in terms of the isolation that Iran is experiencing right now,” he said. “It will undo the growing isolation that took place over the last five years.”

The Zogby survey covered 20,000 people over a period of several weeks beginning last September. The new polling included Turkey, Pakistan and Azerbaijan as well as the Gulf states, Egypt, Sudan and the nations of the Maghreb.

For more details:
http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/iranpollresultsreport.pdf

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid