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The World Ignites
Iran's Popularity Plummets in Middle East

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.

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  • gabrielsyme

    The Middle East is dissolving into chaos, and the prime instigator of much of the violence, Iran…

    This is just ridiculous. Obviously, Iran has had virtually nothing to do with the chaos and violence in Libya and Egypt. In Iraq, Iran has hardly been the cause of ISIS or of Maliki’s incompetence. In Syria, it was not Assad, much less Iran which started the Syrian Civil War.

    You can condemn Assad and Iran’s support for him, but the chaos and civil war in Syria is primarily the responsibility of the Sunni rebels and their supporters in the Gulf, the White House and Turkey.

    • Moses Operandi

      Well said.

  • Bruce

    What does it matter? The populations of these countries have no influence on their governments. Their governments will align with whoever gives them the best chance of survival. Maliki will probably align with the “unpopular” Iran because as despicable as they are, they will have his back. The U.S. does not “choose sides.”

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