Arab Attitudes Toward Iran: 2011

Findings from part two of the the latest Arab American Institute six Arab nations poll show real concern with Iran’s current and future role in the region.

The poll surveys six Arab nations’ attitudes towards Iran and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) issues. The key finding is that a substantial majority of Arabs believe that Iran plays a negative role in both Iraq and the Arab Gulf region. Conducted during the first three weeks of June by Zogby International, over 4,000 Arabs were surveyed, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5% in Morocco, Egypt, KSA; and +/- 4.5% in Lebanon, Jordan, UAE.


Executive Summary

• Most Arabs look askance at Iran's role across their region, with substantial majorities seeing Iran playing a negative role especially in Iraq, Bahrain and the Arab Gulf.

• Iran's favorable ratings have dropped significantly in recent years. It is seen as not contributing to "peace and stability in the Arab World" and there is scant support for Iran's nuclear program.

• Significant majorities desire that the Middle East become a "nuclear free zone". When asked if they "had to choose one nation other than Israel to be a nuclear power in the Middle East" - for most Arabs, Egypt is the preferred choice, followed by Turkey.

• There is regional support for the GCC's new and more assertive role in Bahrain, Yemen, and in their concern with Iran's nuclear program.

• Lebanon's attitudes toward Iran differ from the rest of the region, revealing a troubling sectarian divide.

• Overall, Turkey receives the highest favorable ratings in most Arab countries, with the U.S. Receiving the lowest rating in every country but Saudi Arabia, where Iran is lowest.

Note: In previous polls, when Arabs were asked questions about Iran or its nuclear program, and the U.S. 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. 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 behavior has succeeded in alienating Arab opinion.

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Resources:

The Gudarian: Iran worries Arabs – but they don't want war

Newsmax: Zogby Poll: 'Shocking' Drop in Iran's Popularity in Arab World

Jerusalem Post: Poll: Arab views of Iran plummet in wake of Arab spring

Haaretz: Poll: Sharp drop in Iran's popularity in Arab world

Gulf News: Poll shows Iran has lost Arab support

Hurriyet Daily News: Arabs look to Turkey, not Iran, says poll

Arabian Business: Gulf attitudes towards Iran nosedive, poll shows

International Business Times: In Middle East, Power and Influence Shifting to Turkey at Iran’s Expense

IPS: Iran's Image Plummets in Arab World, Poll Finds

World Policy Blog: How to Punish Iran, not Iranians

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