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Thu 28 Jul 2011 12:29 PM

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Gulf attitudes towards Iran nosedive, poll shows

Islamic Republic’s nuclear plans and regional aspirations spur fear in Arab states

Gulf attitudes towards Iran nosedive, poll shows
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Persian states political ambitions have been met with concern by Arab states

Iran’s plans for nuclear power and regional dominance have been met with concern by most Arab countries, according to the results of a new survey.

The poll, conducted by the Arab American Institute, surveyed six Arab nations – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan – showed that tolerance towards Iranian behaviour has dropped consistently over the past five years.

The survey showed that in the UAE, not one Arab surveyed said that Iran played a positive role in the region and all but three said it had a negative role. Views are generally the most negative in the Gulf, followed by Morocco and Egypt.

Positive impressions of Iran have nosedived since 2006, when most Arab countries surveyed gave the Islamic Republic an approval rating of between 90 and 65 percent.

In every country apart from Lebanon, Iran has a net unfavourable rating. By comparison, the US received the lowest rating in every country apart from Saudi Arabia.

For the six countries surveyed, in every country except for Lebanon, significant majorities felt that Iran did not contribute to peace and stability in the Arab world, with Saudi Arabia and Turkey ranking highest.

When questioned as to whether the Middle East would be safer if it was a nuclear-free region, every country – except Lebanon – were in strong agreement.

A majority of respondents from Lebanon indicated that the Middle East would be more secure if Iran was a nuclear power.

In addition, the majority of respondents from Arab nations surveyed – again aside from Lebanon – agreed with the assessment that the Gulf states are right to be concerned with Iran’s nuclear problem.

“In previous polls, when Arabs were asked questions about Iran or its nuclear program, and the US and its threats of sanctions or military action were a part of the question, Arabs would indicate strong support for Iran and its defiance on nuclear issues,” said James Zogby, whose firm, Zogby International, conducted the poll on behalf of the Arab American Institute. 

“The more negative attitudes toward Iran reflected here may be accounted for by the fact that in this survey Arabs are being asked to state their attitudes toward Iran without reference to the U.S. and/or that Iran's regional behaviour has succeeded in alienating Arab opinion.”

Other than Jordan, a majority of respondents from other Arab countries agreed with the assessment that the Gulf states were right to send Peninsula Shield forces to Bahrain during the recent unrest there.

zxc 8 years ago

Well, how do we know that this survey is a genuine one and not fabricated like the WMD's. This survey is after all done by the Arab American Institute - The inclusion of the word "Arab" is there only to serve a token and has possibly lip value - Western propaganda very likely.

Muslim min Imaraat 8 years ago

I wonder what does "By comparison, the US received the lowest rating in every country apart from Saudi Arabia."

If it means that US had a far lower rating than may be the title of this should be how badly US is rated than anything to do with Iran.

Justin 8 years ago

Authenticity of research methodology and agenda aside, my gut tells me that these results sound right. Most GCC nationals and Arabs in general are nervous about the prospect of a nuclear Iran and what that might do to the stability of the region. When a countries leader has said that he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the map there is little room for misinterpretation. It is obvious why Lebanon stands out because they have their own recent greivances and see Iran as the possible 'big brother' to avenge their losses. This is short sighted because no one wants to see nuclear weapons being used on other human beings. We then look at how the peacefull protesters and students were treated in Iran and we get a feelling of a menacing sleeping giant. Kind of like the kid who was bullied at school and then becomes an even bigger bully. Iran could very easily change the way they are perceived. Open there arms to weapons inspectors to prove they aren't desperate to satrt WW3. Simple.