Short Clip on Telephone Poll of Iranians About their Political Choices and Policy Views


This is a brief clip of a discussion I had day before yesterday with Ken Ballen, President of Terror Free Tomorrow, and Flynt Leverett, Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative at the New America Foundation.
Ballen’s group and the New America Foundation collaborated in a poll of Iranian citizens about their views on a number of political and policy issues and their tilt towards various candidates in the upcoming Iranian presidential election. The poll was done in May — and many other factors may have come into play since that time to affect the outcome.
For a longer take on the poll and what it says about Iranian aspirations, click here.
A CNN piece co-authored by Ken Ballen and New America Foundation Middle East Task Force director Amjad Atallah on the implications of the poll results is here.
Here is a link to a pdf of the poll results.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons


18 comments on “Short Clip on Telephone Poll of Iranians About their Political Choices and Policy Views

  1. Orwell says:

    Market fundamentalis in Japan is definitely going to lose within a few months. The days of Schok Doctrine is now being over.


  2. Curious says:

    I don’t think there’s any irony in the interest shown in Iranian
    elections. It’s natural to be interested in who’s coming to power in
    a major country, especially where relations are tense. Think of the
    interest in a successor to Il in North Korea. Doesn’t mean there’s
    true democracy there: The Mullahs remain in control regardless of
    who wins. If the rabbinate were running Israel, this point would be
    clear to JohnH.


  3. JohnH says:

    JG raises an interesting question. I’m sure the brains behind the Israeli hasbara are burning the midnight oil, trying to find ways to demonize Mousavi. Of course, they have their hands full right now trying to deflect, delay, and reframe the whole issue of Israeli settlements.
    If worst comes to worst, the Likudniks could always find another existential threat…


  4. ... says:

    paul thanks for your regular commentary here which i appreciate and enjoy…
    johnh – yes interesting ironies never cease when it comes to media coverage in the usa and western world more generally..


  5. JG says:

    Another excellent piece:
    Any theories on which fear mongering tactics the Neocon/Likudnik/”status quo” folks will resort to if Moussavi wins the election?


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.”
    So its a major event when one of these posturing politighouls speaks truth?
    Remind me, why do we revere these elitist sacks of crap?


  7. Don Bacon says:

    This just in, and it could be a game-changer:
    One of the most senior Democrats in Washington has dismissed a key element in the west’s long standing strategy on Iran’s nuclear programme as “ridiculous”. His comments throw open the debate about how far the US and its partners should go in seeking a compromise with Tehran after Friday’s presidential election.
    John Kerry, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee and the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, told the Financial Times in an interview that Iran had a right to uranium enrichment – a process that can produce both nuclear fuel and weapons grade material.
    “The Bush administration [argument of] no enrichment was ridiculous . . . . because it seemed so unreasonable to people,” said Mr Kerry, citing Iran’s rights as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. “It was bombastic diplomacy. It was wasted energy. It sort of hardened the lines, if you will,” he added. “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.”


  8. Don Bacon says:

    Mark Fowler’s opinion piece covers many of the bases on US/Iranian engagement but it (incredibly) ignores the big gorilla — Iran’s nuclear program and its related fearmongering.
    According to the poll referenced above, nuclear energy is favored by 94 percent of Iranians. However the Israeli-motivated US government has continually mis-cast Iran’s nuclear energy program as a weapons program, and together with false statements about how Iran wants to “wipe Israel off the map” has seemingly discarded any hope of true engagement. Instead the US, through the UN, has sanctioned Iran for not halting its legal nuclear program which is continually monitored by the IAEA to insure full compliance with the NPT.
    President Obama has created his own limitations on engagement with Iran with his extremist rhetoric:
    Sep 6, 2008 …Iran is a “major threat” and it would be “unacceptable” for the rogue nation to develop a nuclear weapon, Barack Obama said.
    Nov 7, 2008 … U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said in Chicago on Friday that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons is unacceptable.
    Dec 7, 2008 . . .Obama: “We need to ratchet up tough but direct diplomacy with Iran, making very clear to them that their development of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable”
    Jan 11, 2009 . . .Obama: “[Iran is] pursuing a nuclear weapon that could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race.”
    April 5, 2009 . . .Obama: “So let me be clear: Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran’s neighbors and our allies.”
    So it seems that any US “engagement’ of the US with Iran will merely be a cover for repeated demands which are unacceptable to Iran and to Iranians. Meanwhile, as I noted above, Iran is fully engaged with a great part of the world.


  9. JG says:

    This is an excellent opinion piece:—to-engage-or-not-t_b_214111.html
    The logical and rational path forward is so obvious…but, then again, we have not had a rational Middle East foreign policy in decades


  10. Paul Norheim says:

    when you talk about the “anonymous” one, I assume you refer
    to the one signing with “…”.
    I thought so too, but actually he is a regular contributor who
    says that he is from Canada. Just like “WigWag, “POA” and
    “Kotzabasis” – “…” prefers not to use his own name. The
    moniker “…” just seems to be more anonymous than “Zathras”.
    And Don, I have to say that I disagree with your characterization
    of Zathras (just like I disagree with those who regularly attack
    the motivations of WigWag). Obviously Zathras expressed
    himself sarcastically here – which is far from lacking logical
    arguments or being ad hominem. Don`t want to be a
    policeman, Don, but I think you went a bit too far. I very often
    disagree with what Zathras has to say, but occasionally his
    comments provoke thoughts that wouldn`t have been triggered
    by the usual “progressive” voices here.
    On substance, however, I agree with the “anonymous” voice,
    which calls itself “…” (and whom Tony Foresta always adresses
    as “whomeveryouare”) above, when it says “excellent
    commentary don and johnh”. Iran is certainly less marginal and
    more democratic than the western world wants to admit.


  11. Don Bacon says:

    Zathras never disappoints. When he lacks a logical argument, and can’t think of anything meaningful to say, and can’t deliver one of his three thousand word incomprehensible verbal diarrhea deliverances, which is usual, he reverts to ad hominem attacks. Thank you, Zathras. You affirm us with your vacuity.


  12. Zathras says:

    Well, that’s something anyway. Ahmadinejad gets 3 Stooges here without even asking for them. Too bad one of them chose to be anonymous.
    I have no idea if he’ll lose the election, but if he does he’ll have this consolation.


  13. JohnH says:

    Two final points here–
    1) It’s amazing how all the talking heads and hired pens, propagandists all, are suddenly fascinated by an election in a country they call undemocratic. Anyone see the irony here?
    2) With the likely advent of an Iranian president with legitimacy, even a mandate, how can the talking heads and hired pens demand more money for “democracy promotion?” Oh, well, they continue to demonize Chavez, who has won more monitored elections than you count. Anyone see the blatant hypocrisy here?
    Obviously, the only thing that can bring democracy to the good but misguided people of Iran and Venezuela is to shower them with bombs until they submit to Democracy(TM).


  14. ... says:

    excellent commentary don and johnh.. it seems the usa is always inclined to present a different picture to the world then the reality… at some point reality will catch up, and the ordinary american isn’t going to be happy about how they have been duped..


  15. JohnH says:

    Kaveh L Afrasiabi makes a couple good points about the Iranian election–
    1) Like Leverett, Afrasiabi believes that any change is likely to be more stylistic than substantive.
    2) The elections are so competitive that whoever wins will have legitimacy. “The next president should be able to convince the world that he has a national mandate, which includes continuing with the country’s nuclear program and negotiating with other countries.”
    Nothing scares that US more than a sovereign nation holding legitimate elections that don’t go the US’ way. Sounds like the US government’s energy security mob will have no choice but to demand that Washington, starting maybe with an attack by Israel, bomb the daylights out of them for being so uppity.


  16. JohnH says:

    Don makes an good point. What’s also interesting is that Iran could supply most of its Asian customers, except Japan, with oil and gas by pipeline. Such a development would effectively cut the Big Dog (AKA US DOD) out of its oil protection racket. The US prefers that energy flow by sea through the port of Gwadar (without Chinese involvement), so that it can be carefully “monitored” by the US Navy.


  17. Don Bacon says:

    The euro-centric idea that Iran is somehow disconnected from the world, which is always promoted by the US government and its mouthpieces, is wrong. Iran is at peace with its neighbors and enjoys political support from the big players in its part of the world, plus as a large supplier of oil and gas is economically connected. Iran IS somewhat separated from the western world, led by the US/EU/UN, but that is entirely due to US political motives to be the big dog (per the Carter Doctrine) in the Middle East.
    JAPAN – Biggest single buyer of Iran’s crude. Imported 519,518 barrels per day (bpd) in Q1 2009. Iran was Japan’s third-largest supplier.
    CHINA – Second-largest buyer of Iran’s oil. Imported 484,093 bpd in Q1 2009. Iran is China’s second-largest crude supplier. — China’s state-run Zhuhai Zhenrong, which started buying oil from Iran more than a decade ago and was among the first buyer to heed Tehran’s call to pay in euro instead of U.S. dollars, has extended its agreement with National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) to import 240,000 bpd of crude for 2009.
    China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a $4.7 billion contract with a Chinese state firm on Wednesday to develop a phase of South Pars, replacing France’s Total. — CNPC is in talks with Iran for $3.6 billion deal to buy LNG from Phase 14 of South Pars project. CNPC is also in talks to explore and develop energy reserves in Iran’s Caspian. — Chinese oil firm China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) signed a deal with the NIOC on Jan. 14, 2009 to develop the north Azadegan oilfield. The deal is worth $2 billion in its first phase. Under the first phase lasting 48 months, the capacity would reach 75,000 barrels per day (bpd). The tenure of the project is 12 years. — China’s Sinopec Group finalised a $2 billion pact to develop Iran’s huge Yadavaran field in December 2007. — The China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) is in talks to finalise a $16 billion dealt to develop the North Pars gas field and build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.
    INDIA – India imported 426,360 bpd of Iran’s oil in the fiscal year 2008/09, or 9.5 percent more crude versus a year earlier. Iran was India’s second-largest supplier. India supplies much of Iran’s imported oil gasoline and diesel.
    PAKISTAN – Iranian news agencies reported last month that Iran and Pakistan had signed a framework agreement to export Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.
    RUSSIA – Russia is building Iran’s first nuclear power plant and supplying the fuel it will use.
    And so on with Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan etc.


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