7/11/2007

Opinions in Iran

(h/t Dr. Roy)
This poll was conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow on the opinions in Iran.
These are... findings of the first uncensored public opinion survey of Iran since President Ahmadinejad took office. The survey was conducted... from June 5 to June 18, 2007, with 1,000 interviews covering all 30 provinces of Iran (and a margin of error of 3.1%). The last poll to ask similar controversial questions was conducted in September 2003 by Abbas Abdi inside Iran. He was imprisoned as a result.

Developing nuclear weapons was seen as a very important priority by only 29% of Iranians.
88% of Iranians considered improving the Iranian economy a very important priority.
80% of Iranians favor Iran offering full international nuclear inspections and a guarantee not to develop or possess nuclear weapons in return for outside aid.
70% of Iranians also favor normal relations and trade with the U.S.
a majority of Iranians even favor recognizing Israel and Palestine as independent states, ending Iranian support for any armed groups inside Iraq, and giving full transparency by Iran to the U.S. to ensure there are no Iranian endeavors to develop nuclear weapons.
61% of Iranians were willing to tell our pollsters -- over the phone no less -- that they oppose the current Iranian system of government, in which the supreme leader rules according to religious principles and cannot be chosen or replaced by direct vote of the people.
79% of Iranians support a democratic system instead, in which the supreme leader, along with all leaders, can be chosen and replaced by a free and direct vote of the people.
Only 11% of Iranians said they would strongly oppose having a political system in which all of their leaders, including the supreme leader, are chosen by popular election.
Iranians across all demographic groups oppose the unelected rule of the supreme leader in favor of electing all their leaders. While these views run stronger in Tehran, they are also held across all provinces of Iran, and in both urban and rural areas.
Most Iranians oppose their regime and want normal relations with the West...
Most Iranians see the economy as the major issue. They want democracy and freedom.


In light of the riots over gas rationing, I am not overly surprised by the results of this poll. In fact, I would not be surprised if this was the opinion held by most Middle Eastern countries. There is a significant gap between the ruling elite and the average citizen. The problem, of course, is that the average citizen either does not have or feels they do not have the power to effect change.
The average Iranian citizen both wants and needs empowerment; I am just not sure what form that empowerment should take. I doubt very much that there is a western military solution to this problem. The Iranian people need assistance in freeing themselves from the tyrannical regime that rules them. Sending in an army from the outside however, be it a NATO or UN force, would likely not do any good.

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