Adam Ash

Your daily entertainment scout. Whatever is happening out there, you'll find the best writing about it in here.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Poll - what Iranians think of US in partnership with Search for Common Ground yesterday published the results of a groundbreaking poll of Iran and U.S. on international issues.

Here are some of the key findings:


1. Clash of Civilizations?
Although Iranians show substantial concern about the conflict between Islamic and Western cultures, a majority rejects the idea that it is inevitable. Instead, a majority of Iranians believe that it is possible for the two cultures to find common ground. Iranians are divided about whether they should only emphasize strengthening ties with Muslim countries or put an equal effort into building better relations with the West. Americans share Iranian concerns about the conflict between Islamic and Western countries and lean toward believing that it is possible to find common ground. However, a substantially larger minority of Americans than Iranians believe that conflict is inevitable.

2. Militant Islamic Groups and Terrorism
Iranians, like Americans, are concerned about terrorism and reject Osama bin Laden overwhelmingly. Iranians are considerably less concerned than Americans about al Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups, however, and majorities have positive views of Hamas and Hezbollah. Iranians overwhelmingly reject attacks intentionally aimed at civilians, including those targeting Americans. Americans concur though the percentage of Iranians who reject such attacks is somewhat higher than the percentage of Americans who do so. A modest majority of Iranians, however, make an exception for some Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians. Americans do not make such an exception for Israeli attacks on Palestinians.


3. Views of the United States
Very large majorities of Iranians have negative views of the United States overall, its influence in the world, its current government, its current president, and its culture. Views of the American people, however, are almost evenly divided Large majorities perceive that US foreign policy is threatening and that US bases in the Middle East are destabilizing the region and threatening to Iran. Very few believe that the primary goal of 'the war on terrorism' is to protect the United States from terrorist attacks: most believe that it seeks to dominate the region to control its resources or to undermine the Muslim world. Few believe the United States is really committed to creating an independent Palestinian state. Modest majorities of Americans take contrary views: that US bases in the Middle East are stabilizing, that the goal of the US 'war on terrorism' is to protect itself from terrorist attacks, and that the United States is committed to creating an independent Palestinian state. Most Americans, however, agree that US bases in the region are threatening to Iran.

4. Views of Iran
A very large majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Iranian government and its influence in the world, though the intensity of their negative feeling is not as strong as that felt by Iranians toward the US government. A clear majority of Americans also have a negative view of the Iranian people, in contrast to the more divided views Iranians have of the American people. A growing majority of Iranians believe Iran is having a positive influence in the world. A very large majority of Iranians approve of Iran playing an active international role.

5. Improving US-Iranian Relations
A slight majority or a plurality of Iranians favor a variety of possible steps that have been proposed for improving US-Iranian relations. Large majorities of Americans support most of these steps. The steps include direct talks between governments on issues of mutual concern, more cultural, educational, and sporting exchanges, better access for journalists from both countries, increased trade and more tourism. Americans especially favor intergovernmental talks, though only a bare majority favors more tourism.


6. Iran's Nuclear Energy Program
An overwhelming majority of Iranians believe that it is very important for Iran to have a full-fuel-cycle nuclear program. Majorities cite as key reasons for having such a capacity: securing Iran’s energy needs, enhancing Iran’s national technical competence, enhancing Iran’s great power status, preserving Iran’s rights to nuclear energy under the NPT, and preventing other countries from trying to economically and politically dominate Iran. Iranians express substantial concern about the potential for disruption in the supply of energy and enthusiastically support nuclear energy as a safe and important source of electricity. Americans have an even higher level of concern about possible disruptions in the energy supply, but resist the building of new nuclear power plants.

7. Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
A large majority of Iranians support Iran's participation in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) which prohibits Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Only a small minority favors withdrawing from the NPT. Large majorities also support a Middle East nuclear free zone, and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons. However a large majority thinks that there are countries with secret nuclear weapons programs, and that in the future there will be more countries with nuclear weapons. Iranians are divided about whether at some point in the future Iran will decide to acquire nuclear weapons, with many expressing uncertainty. Americans concur with Iranians in their support for the NPT regime including the elimination of all nuclear weapons, and agree that there are countries secretly acquiring nuclear weapons. However, a very large majority of Americans believe that Iran will eventually acquire nuclear weapons.

8. Negotiations over Iran's Nuclear Program
Iranians show strong resistance to negotiating away the ability to enrich uranium, rejecting as insignificant a wide array of possible incentives that could be provided by the United States and other countries. Americans showed a readiness to provide some incentives but not others. Iranians and Americans are divided about the likelihood of this dispute leading to a military conflict, but Americans are a bit more likely to believe that military conflict will occur. A majority of Americans would be willing to allow Iran to enrich uranium if Iran agrees to limit its uranium enrichment programs to the low levels necessary for nuclear energy and to give UN inspectors full access to its nuclear facilities to ensure that such limits are respected.


Post a Comment

<< Home