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.
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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid