January 03, 2017
A new poll taken in Iran by an American group shows the vast majority of Iranians do not expect the United States to live up to its commitments under the nuclear agreement—even though the US has already done everything it was required to do.
The poll, organized by the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland and conducted by IranPoll.com, found that 78 percent of those polled across Iran have little or no confidence the Americans will abide by the deal. Only 19 percent expressed any level of confidence that the Americans would do what they pledged.
Actually, the American pledges were carried out last January when all the sanctions listed in the agreement were lifted and all Iranian funds frozen outside the United States were unfrozen. But Iranian officials continue to tell the Iranian people that the Americans have not fulfilled their pledges.
Asked if the Americans have lifted all the sanctions they pledged to lift, only 54 percent knew the US had done so. Fully 39 percent agreed with the statement: “The US has not lifted all of the sanctions it agreed to lift.”
The main charge of the regime, however, is that the United States under President Obama was actively trying to prevent other countries from having economic relations with Iran. A total of 82 percent of those polled agreed with that regime charge. No other country has agreed with Iran.
The poll was taken in December and found that President Rohani’s favorability rating had dropped precipitously in the second half of 2016 and that his rating was now slightly below that of Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, who is widely expected to challenge Rohani in the May presidential elections.
Five previous polls taken by the same group had consistently showed Rohani with a favorability rating over 80 percent. But the December poll showed it had dropped to 69 percent—still a majority, but 20 points lower than a year earlier.
Qalibaf’s favorability was modestly higher at 73 percent, in range with the polltaker’s previous results.
Much later in the poll, people were asked who they would vote for if Rohani and Qalibaf both ran in May—49 percent chose Rohani to 32 percent for Qalibaf, with 11 percent volunteering some other name and 9 percent saying they didn’t know.
Of the five other political figures Iranians were asked about, the highest favorability rating of 74 percent was received by Qods Force commander Gen. Qasem Soleymani, followed closely by Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif with 71 percent. The surprise was former President Mahmud Ahmadi-nejad, who was viewed favorably by 61 percent of those polled.
The poll also asked about Saeed Jalili, the most rightwing candidate in the last presidential election. He received a favorable nod from only 42 percent of those polled. Mohammad-Reza Aref, the leader of the Reformists faction in the Majlis, got a favorability rating of only 39 percent. But in the cases of Jalili and Aref, a third of those polled didn’t know who they were or had no opinion.
The bad news for Rohani was that by almost a 2-to-1 majority, Iranians feel the economy is bad rather than good. In polls taken in July 2014 and May 2015, majorities though the economy was good, but the numbers fell dramatically in successive polls taken in 2016. Furthermore, for the first time, a majority, albeit only 51 percent, said the economy was actually getting worse day-by-day.
In an open-ended question, those polled were asked what was the most important challenge that the country faces. Forty-four percent said jobs; combined with other related concerns like low wages and inflation, fully 71 percent said the economy was the main concern. Only 17 percent named sanctions or the nuclear agreement not being adhered to. Fewer than 3 percent named corruption.
While 78 percent don’t believe the Americans will adhere to the nuclear agreement and 73 percent say living conditions have not improved as a result of the agreement, 55 percent of those polled still support the agreement and only 34 percent oppose it, with 11 percent not having an opinion. What’s more 57 percent expect that living conditions will eventually improve due to the nuclear agreement.
The seeming contradiction could not be explained.
The poll also asked whether those surveyed had a positive or negative opinion of six named countries. No country got a rousing endorsement. But Britain and the United States were especially disdained.
Here are positive ratings given the six countries:
The disdain wasn’t just for the United States in general but for President Obama in particular. Asked to rate Obama’s policies on a scale of zero, for completely hostile, to 10, for completely friendly, an astounding 42 percent chose zero. Another 19 percent chose numbers 1 through 4, while 24 percent chose 5 (“Neither hostile nor friendly”), 8 percent chose numbers 6 though 9, and 5 percent chose 10 (“Completely friendly”).
In an open-ended question, the pollsters asked those surveyed what they thought was Rohani’s most important accomplishment in office. And 25 percent named the nuclear agreement. In a very distant second place was reducing inflation with 7 percent. No other selection even reached 4 percent.
The poll questioned 1,000 Iranians from Dec.10-24.