November 19, 2009

Iranian American Survey Shows Support for Human Rights, Diplomacy over More Sanctions

Washington, DC – A recent poll of the Iranian-American community by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) reveals greater concern for the domestic affairs of Iran and large support for human rights and democracy.  The National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans was conducted nationwide by Zogby International across 402 Iranian Americans interviewed by phone, following up on PAAIA’s 2008 survey, to explore possible changes since the June 2009 elections.

The poll indicated that ties between Iranian Americans and Iran remain strong as more than six in ten Iranian Americans surveyed have immediate family members in Iran. 87% of respondents do not believe the Iranian presidential elections were free and fair, with 50% supporting the Obama administration’s decision not to interfere in the election or with the election protestors. Further, 50% support diplomatic negotiations between the U.S. and Iran. 35% suggested the Obama administration should have been more actively engaged and provided stronger support to the election protestors.


Compared to PAAIA‘s 2008 survey, in the 2009 poll Iranian Americans see greater importance in foreign policy involving U.S.-Iran relations and internal affairs in Iran. 20% of the 2009 participants said Iranian internal affairs were the most important issue compared to 7% in 2008. 70% said the promotion of democracy and human rights in Iran were the most important issues. (Similarly, a poll of NIAC‘s membership earlier this summer revealed the increased focus on human rights and that human rights should be included in US-Iran diplomacy.) 59% of Iranian Americans surveyed in the 2009 PAAIA survey also indicated that, in turn, promoting human rights and democracy in Iran should be among the two major goals of an Iranian American community or civic organization, while 17% expect such an organization to influence U.S. policy towards Iran. 


On the role of the Iranian Diaspora and Iranian American organizations, 55% said they should support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. 50% said they should actively support the democratic movement there, 45% supported high quality media broadcasting to Iran, and 35% said they should advocate with respect to U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis Iran. Ultimately, only 11% said that Iranians living outside Iran have no effective role to play.




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