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PAAIA Releases National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans & the American Public

Posted by Noah Ringler Monday, June 22, 2015

Iranian Americans and the American public at large support efforts to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran  

June 22, 2015, Washington, D.C.  – The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) today released the findings of a national public opinion survey examining the attitudes of both Iranian Americans and the American public at large toward a number of issues related to the nuclear negotiations with Iran and U.S.-Iranian relations. The results show that both Iranian Americans and American voters are supportive of a nuclear agreement with Iran.    

Nearly two-thirds of Iranian Americans (64%) approve of the P5+1 framework agreement with Iran designed to place limits on Iran’s nuclear program, with eight  in ten saying that President Obama has been effective in handling negotiations with Iran.  Overall U.S. opinion also leans in support of a nuclear agreement with Iran by a two-to-one margin.  

Nevertheless, an almost equal number of Iranian Americans (49%) and American voters (52%) believe that an agreement should be subject to congressional approval and oversight. 

More than two-thirds of Iranian American respondents (68%) say the economic sanctions imposed on Iran have caused significant hardship for their family and friends in Iran.  In this context, seven in ten respondents are supportive of the exemptions the U.S. government has made for remittances to family, supplies of food and medicine, and personal communications tools, and favor expanding exemptions.  Three-quarters favor facilitating the transfer of remittances through a direct banking link between the U.S. and Iran. 

“What we find is an Iranian American community that has maintained strong ties to friends and family in Iran and their opinions are reflective of their concern for the Iranian people,” said Leila Austin, PhD, Executive Director of PAAIA.  “Iranian Americans support efforts to resolve the nuclear impasse with Iran peacefully and are hopeful that in the wake of such an agreement life will improve for the people of Iran, while the larger American public is more cautious and expresses a lack of knowledge on issues involving U.S.-Iran relations.”

Eight in ten Iranian American respondents say a nuclear agreement would have positive impact on Iran’s relations with the United States and the West, while nearly two-thirds (66%) feel that it will improve personal and civil rights for Iranian citizens.  

When asked about the top two issues most affecting U.S.-Iran relations, the majority of Iranian Americans (55%) cite the promotion of human rights and democracy.  The issue chosen by second largest percentage of respondents was the successful completion of the nuclear negotiations, with 40% citing it as one of the two most important issues.   

In regards to the U.S. public's impressions of Iranian Americans and Iran, by a margin of two-to one, Americans have a favorable view of Iranian Americans and a slight plurality have a positive view of the Iranian people.  On the other hand, by a six to one margin, Americans have an unfavorable view of the Iranian government.

Click here for the complete report.

Click here for the slideshow presentation. 

Zogby Research Services (ZRS) was commissioned by PAAIA to conduct, in partnership with Zogby Analytics, a live operator telephone survey of Iranian Americans with a representative sample of  400 adult respondents and a +/- 5% margin of error.   In addition,  ZRS in partnership with Zogby Analytics conducted an online survey of 1,010 adult respondents in the United States with a +/- 3% margin of error.    

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