The Middle East is dissolving into chaos, and the prime instigator of much of the violence, Iran, is seeing its popularity in the region decline. According to a Pew report, Iran is now deeply disliked both in the region and globally:
Attitudes toward Iran are mostly negative worldwide. In 29 of 40 countries, a majority or plurality say they have an unfavorable opinion of the Islamic Republic. 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.
Surprisingly, in a number of Middle Eastern countries Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s supposedly reformist President, is even less popular than his hardline predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
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.
One likely reason for Iran’s unpopularity, beyond the Sunni-Shia polarization, is Iran’s steadfast support for Assad and his use of chemical weapons. Even by Middle Eastern standards, that’s an ugly piece of work.