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IRAN: Warming up to America, poll shows

April 7, 2008 |  3:01 am

Iranians

A new poll released today shows that Iranians want better ties with the United States and have less fear of a confrontation with America than before.

The poll, conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org, showed 55% of Iranians view U.S. bases in the Middle East as a threat, down from 73% in late 2006. 

According to the survey, one in three Iranians thinks it’s likely that the U.S. military will launch airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, compared to one in two a little over a year earlier.

Only about one in 10 thinks war between the U.S. and Iran is inevitable, compared to one in four in the earlier poll.

The poll also found that fewer Iranians dislike the U.S. Those saying they have a very unfavorable view of the U.S. dropped from 65% to 51%, with a slight majority saying they have a positive regard for the American people.

“It appears that as the sense of threat has subsided, there has been some thawing of Iranian hostility and a greater readiness to enter into closer relations with the United States,” said Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org, according to a press statement.

Still the U.S. is not beloved by Iranians, according to the poll. More than four out of five Iranians said that the U.S. aims to weaken and divide the Islamic world, and a majority said America is out to humiliate Muslims.

Questions were put to a random sample of 710 Iranians from Jan. 13 to Feb. 9.

On the issue of greatest contention between Tehran and the West, about 60% of those polled thought that nuclear weapons were contrary to Islam while 80% supported their country’s nuclear energy program.

The poll also found that Iranians want more cultural ties with the U.S., even though they view it as hostile to Iran and Islam.

The poll found that:

  • 57% favor open-ended talks between the U.S. and Iran.
  • 69% support a U.S.-Iran dialogue over securing Iraq.
  • 64% favor greater US-Iran trade.
  • 63% favor incrfeased cultural, educational and athletic exchanges.
  • 71% favor more tourism between the two countries.

Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photo: An Iranian woman, center, prepares tea during a relatives gathering marking the ancient festival of Sizdeh Bedar, the last day of the two-week Persian New Year holidays, at the Pardisan Park in Tehran on April 1 The festival predates Islam and goes back thousands of years to the time when Zoroastrianism was the predominant religion of Persia. Credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

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