Pew: Iran Unpopular around the World

June 18, 2014

            Iran’s global image remains overwhelmingly negative one year after President Hassan Rouhani’s election, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. Views of Iran in several Middle Eastern countries have particularly worsened in recent years. And about three-in-four Americans still hold unfavorable views of the Islamic Republic. Pew surveyed 40 countries between March 17 and May 25, 2014. In 29 of those nations, a majority or plurality have an unfavorable opinion of Iran. The following are excerpts from the Pew report.

      Attitudes toward Iran are mostly negative worldwide. The only nations in which at least half express a favorable view are Bangladesh (63%), Pakistan (63%) and Indonesia (51%).
      Ratings for Iran are low in the Middle East, and have been dropping steadily in recent years. In 2006, roughly half or more in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey had a positive opinion of Iran; today, fewer than one-in-five in all three countries hold this view. Similarly, Iran’s favorability rating among Palestinians has dropped from 55% in 2007 to 33% now.
      Among the P5+1 nations (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) that are engaged in ongoing nuclear talks with Tehran, public attitudes are mostly critical of Iran. Majorities in Germany, France, the United States, the United Kingdom and China give Iran an unfavorable rating. Russians are more divided, although, on balance, still mostly negative (44% favorable, 35% unfavorable).
Rouhani Unpopular
      Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is often described as less hardline than other leaders of the Iranian regime, but a year into his tenure, Rouhani receives poor marks throughout the Middle Eastern countries surveyed.
      Majorities in six nations express an unfavorable opinion of Rouhani, including roughly eight-in-ten in Jordan and Egypt and about nine-in-ten in Israel. In Tunisia, a 44%-plurality gives him a negative rating.
      When Pew Research asked the same question about then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2012, the controversial Ahmadinejad received better ratings than Rouhani does today in Turkey, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt.
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