Thursday, February 4, 2010

What Does the Iranian Public Really Think?

The New America Foundation/Iran Initiative hosted an event Wednesday to discuss what the Iranian public really thinks on key issues and the implications for US foreign policy. One of the speakers was Steven Kull, Director of

Mr. Kull presented an analysis of multiple polls which consistently find little evidence to support the contention that the Iranian public sees its government as illegitimate. His report addressed the following:

Indications of fraud in the June 12 Iranian presidential election, together with large-scale street demonstrations, have led to claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not actually win the election, and that the majority of Iranians perceive their government as illegitimate and favor regime change. An analysis of multiple polls of the Iranian public from three different sources finds little evidence to support such conclusions.

The analysis conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland (PIPA), was based on:

• a series of 10 recently-released polls conducted by the University of Tehran; eight conducted in the month before the June 12 election and two conducted in the month after the election, based on telephone interviews conducted within Iran

• a poll by GlobeScan conducted shortly after the election, based on telephone interviews conducted within Iran

• a poll by (managed by PIPA) conducted August 27--September 10, based on telephone interviews made by calling into Iran

Links to the available data and analysis:

Analysis of Multiple Polls
Video recorded of The New America Foundation/Iran Initiative event, including presentations by Steven Kull, Jon Cohen, Flynt Leverett, Hooman Majd and Barbara Slavin:

What Does the Iranian Public Really Think - Panel 1

What Does the Iranian Public Really Think - Panel 2


Anonymous said...

That very much is a proof that he election was fair and legitimate.

considering the statistics .

but it is like the UFO case, some simply do NOT want to believe.

the election is over and not much use to chew on it, Iranians have moved on, so should the Western press.

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting for the Moussavi character to provide proof as he has claimed he has. I am sure he knows that there is a $100,000+ prize who can actually prove that the fraud happen. So "Uskowi in Iran" can you?

b said...

What is missing is the poll TFT made BEFORE the Iranian election.

It is here:

The poll predicted an Ahmedinjad high victory over Mousavi.

So polls before and after the election are consistent with the election results. Additionally no evidence for any serious fraud was presented.

This obvious for any serious analyst a few days after the election.

Pedestrian said...

There is no evidence to point to wide scale FRAUD, and one can be deeply critical of Mousavi for pointing to such, (although I personally think it was a preparation scheme), but I see this from a completely different angle:

ALL THREE candidates besides the winner wanted an investigation into their claims. Left-wing American commentators and pro-Ahmadinejad followers in Iran sometimes try to dim the fact that anyone but Mousavi was contesting the result. In fact, ALL THREE REMAINING candidates were. And all three were point fingers both at election fraud and pre-election foul play which Rezaie's representative broadly documented. By the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Guardian Council was to look into these allegations. But by that very constitution, the GC was to remain NEUTRAL throughout the election and they had blatantly broken the law, so the GC was in no position to carry out the investigations - in this, I am with Mousavi and Karoubi. So the supreme leader was directly responsible for forming an investigative committee, to which he never agreed, and THAT is what makes me MOST suspicious of foul play (although there are many other reasons).

Nader Uskowi said...

Being “pro” Iran should not mean being blind to what’s going on in the country. The presidential election was neither fair nor free. It was not fair as the Guardian Council disqualified many candidates, and only four candidates were deemed “acceptable” to run in the election. It was not free as we have testimonies by many honorable Iranians, including former Prime Minister Mousavi, on widespread fraud. Iranian people are telling pollsters that they consider the current government as the actual government of Iran. We should not judge from these poll results that the election was fair and free.

The Islamic Republic is at a fateful crossroad: the road to one of the most open and democratic form of government in the region and the dark road to dictatorship. The latter is unfortunately the pass preferred by the men who hold the real power in Iran today. In their infinite wisdom they believe that executing two youngsters, with nine more executions scheduled, and putting hundreds of people behind bar, and sentencing tens and tens of people to long-term prison terms is the way to govern. Shah made the same mistake, and this policy will be defeated as well.

Holding free elections, allowing freedom of press and assembly, and freeing political prisoners is the only way ahead if Iran truly is going to develop into a progressive country. One can be “pro” Iran, and in favor of a progressive Iran as well.

b said...


you say:

"It was not free as we have testimonies by many honorable Iranians, including former Prime Minister Mousavi, on widespread fraud."

Where did Mousavi ever say he saw fraud? Where did he present evidence for major fraud caught by his 40,000 election observers?

Despite following the issue closely I am not aware of any of this ever being presented.

Than you say: "only four candidates were deemed “acceptable” to run in the election"

Is there any country around Iran where people had the chance to choose between more than four different candidates with different programs?

Not that I think Iran is perfect, but compared to most of the rest of the world it is certainly in the top third of political freedom.

Nader Uskowi said...


The conversation in Iran is now beyond the past election and more on the way ahead. I believe this is a welcome change. An ongoing state of siege mentality does not favor the country and its development. We might, just might, be witnessing the beginning of a movement for national unity, pushed by the moderates on both sides.

The rightist hardliners, types of Janati and Kayhan’s Shariatmadari, would do all to oppose such development. They believe the government must get out of this mess by harsh dictatorial policies, including political executions, arrests and banning of newspapers, etc. The government has so far followed this policy, but lack of results brings its usefulness under question. Some radicals on the opposition also would see the way out of the impasse in the collapse of the government.

But I believe the moderates like Mahalati, Khatami and Rafsanjani might be in a position now to pull of a comprise. Khamenei’s siding with them will be the key to its success.

Nader Uskowi said...

I meant to say Motahhari, not Mahalati, as readers might have figured out the mistake!