Those angry Iranian women

From a recent RAND poll of Iranians:

  • A majority of respondents view the economy as being “average” or better, though many may have hesitated to express their dismay with the economic situation.
  • In general, gender and education level were important predictors of attitudes. Women and less-educated respondents tended to voice views on security and overall relations that were unfavorable to the United States. Men and those with greater social means tended to be more favorably inclined.
  • A majority of respondents expressing an opinion opposed the reestablishment of ties with the United States. Women and less-educated respondents were least likely to favor the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, but those most comfortable with the survey were more likely to favor such reestablishment.
  • Respondents were divided on the issue of nuclear weapons, with a significant portion favoring their development. Those most comfortable with the survey, men, and those with the highest level of education expressed the most opposition to development of nuclear weapons. The lower classes and those with the lowest level of education supported the development of nuclear weapons. 
  • A majority of respondents did not view sanctions as having a negative effect on the economy, though a significant number viewed sanctions as having a negative impact.Women, poorer respondents, and those most comfortable with the survey rated the impact of sanctions as most negative. 

Like all surveys, take with a grain of salt. It's interesting that the higher the education level, the least in favor Iranians are of developing nuclear weapons. Perhaps it's because they understand better that, officially, Iran is not trying to develop weapons but secure its right (according to the NPT) to enrichment. Of course at the popular level on all sides of this conflict it's become about nukes, even when the real matter at hand is enrichment and inspections. I also don't quite understand why the pollster is making guesses about the willingness of Iranians to criticize the state of the economy (reported by some to be quite dire) and not take them at their word on this issue when they do on the other issues.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.