Friday, March 08, 2013

8-Mar-13: Survey shows there's rising hostility toward Iran among Arabs

Photo above from a 2010 Foreign Policy
article, "WhatArabs Really Think About Iran"
We're not sure how well understood these developments are, but the survey analysis certainly makes for interesting reading...
Tehran tanking: Iran's popularity in the Arab world is way down, but sectarianism is on the rise 
Marc Lynch | Foreign Policy, published yesterday, March 7, 2013
Iran is now viewed unfavorably in a majority of Arab countries, according to a major new survey conducted by James Zogby of 20 Arab and Muslim-majority countries. Iran's appeal to mainstream Arab public opinion has virtually collapsed from its 2006 peak, he found, in part because of its violent suppression of protests following the 2009 presidential election. "Syria is the nail in the coffin of Iran's favorable rating in the region," Zogby concluded... But concealed within a positive narrative of collapsing Iranian soft power is powerful evidence of the alarming spread, intensification, and consolidation of an extremely dangerous sectarianism. That sectarianism, spurred by the repression in Bahrain and the catastrophe in Syria and fueled by Gulf media, is likely more crucial to the future of the Middle East than the ups and downs in Iranian - or American - favorable ratings... Only two Arab countries now see Iran as a good model (Lebanon and Iraq), Iran is viewed unfavorably in 11 out of 17 Arab countries, and large majorities of Arab publics sided with the opposition Green Movement over the Iranian government and disapprove of Iran's role in Syria, Iraq, and the Gulf. These findings should put an end to the conceit that Iran is on the march or that Arabs have the slightest interest in aligning with Tehran with or without a nuclear bomb.
Untroubled, the ayatollah-led Iranian government continues to push the Syria barrow as hard as it can. See "Iran's FM: Syrian Nation Entitled to Decide Own Fate" on the FARS News Agency website today. 

The state-controlled media have another uplifting (i.e. self-serving) message for their domestic news consumers today:
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereydoun Abbasi has said that the West has toned down its rhetoric in nuclear negotiations with Iran, which is a result of Iranian people’s perseverance in regard to their nuclear rights [Tehran Times]
How much of reality do you think Iranians get to comprehend?

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