Not so good

Survey of American perceptions of Iranian Americans and the Iranian government


Not so good

In August of 2008, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) commissioned Zogby International to conduct a national public opinion survey of American perceptions of Iranian Americans, Iranians, and Iran. The purpose of this unprecedented survey is to gather accurate and timely information about how the American public at large perceives Iranian Americans, facilitating a better understanding of the Iranian American community’s standing in American society. The margin of error for the results of this survey is +/- 3.2 percentage points.

The results of this PAAIA/Zogby survey indicate that about half of all Americans have a favorable impression of Iranian Americans, as well as the Iranian people. On the other hand, about one-eighth of all Americans have an unfavorable impression of Iranian Americans and the Iranian people. Significantly, however, about one-third of Americans are not familiar with either Iranian Americans or the Iranian people. The similarity of the American public’s overall impressions of Iranian Americans and the Iranian people perhaps indicates that such impressions are in large part formed by media reports on Iran.

In contrast to generally favorable impressions of Iranian Americans and the Iranian people, two-thirds of Americans have an unfavorable impression of the Iranian Government. Interestingly, fewer Americans indicate that they are unfamiliar with the Iranian government than they are with the Iranian people or Iranian Americans, perhaps underscoring the point made earlier that American perceptions of Iran, Iranians and Iranian Americans are mostly formed by media reports on Iran that are for the most part focused on the political situation there and the state of relations between the two countries.

Four of every ten Americans indicate that their opinion of Iran has gotten worse in the past five years. In contrast, only one-tenth of Americans have a worse impression of Iranian Americans than they did five years ago. On the other hand, the opinion of only one-in-ten Americans towards Iranians and Iranian Americans has improved during this time period.

Two-thirds of Americans do not personally know any Iranian Americans, and one-in-three have never had contact with an Iranian American. However, of those Americans who have had a business, professional or social relationship with an Iranian American, about nine out of ten surveyed had a generally favorable impression of that experience.

Six of every ten Americans believe Iranian Americans generally share the same values as most Americans, while a near equal number also believe the current government of Iran does not represent the values and views of a majority of Iranian Americans. Furthermore, four of five Americans say they are not suspicious of Iranian Americans because of their national origin, with two-thirds considering them to be Americans as opposed to Iranians. If, however, there were a military confrontation between the United States and Iran, that number would drop considerably to fifty-eight percent.

Even though half of all Americans view Iran as a threat, a significant majority of more than sixty percent (60%) oppose military options in dealing with Iran. Moreover, nearly half of all Americans believe diplomatic negotiations would be the foreign policy approach towards Iran that would be in the best interests of the United States.

More than half of all Americans believe Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear technology. Moreover, two-thirds of those surveyed believe diplomacy can dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons, whereas slightly more than one-third believe economic sanctions could achieve the same objective.

For a Copy of the Complete Survey, click here.


more from PAAIA

Shazed & American wife

by Fatollah (not verified) on

Truman America threaten the Sovjet Stalin menace out of Iran in 1946. For that, we should be grateful!

American Wife

Unfortunately I was side-tracked by that comment

by American Wife on

and didn't express my appreciation for the author.  I think the statistics are pretty good.  I'm not sure what else I would expect after the last few years.  Last being possibly the last 30!  We both have a lot to make up for?  Maybe that's too simplistic sounding but it's about time someone (OBAMA!  OBAMA!) takes whatever necessary steps needed to forge some kind of relationship.

Am I too optimistic?


Love it or leave it

by not conflicted (not verified) on

Dear American wife, I always say to those who chose to live in another country, especially the U.S., that if you don't like it here, you can always leave. And I am not even a redneck! As is the case in almost all nationalities, there is always a small minority that when in Iran, they complain about everything there, and when they come here, they suddenly miss their 'Motherland" and start moaning and groaning about life in this country. To them I say this: Make up your mind, for life is too short.

American Wife

I think it's sad

by American Wife on

that someone who has lived in the US for over 40 years feels such animosity towards the country who has given you a home.  Although you don't care, it's perhaps one reason for any negative views of Iranian-Americans.  I for one am hardly interested in extending an hand of peace and friendship to somone who comes to the US and enjoyes her favors, yet holds Americans in such complete distain. 


Thank You for the look in the mirror

by eroonman on

Thanks to PAIIA for their courage to make us face our pitiful selves in the mirror. If this doesn't wake us all up to change our world, nothing will, and we deserve condemnation. The realization of just how tarnished and stained our image has become, entirely at the hands of those who "own us" in this game of cultural identity theft, should cause every free Iranian to shudder at the ugly image they have painted of us.


May God bless Iran by removing his newest religion from it.


My oponion

by shirazie (not verified) on

I do care about your opinion.. Just get out of my on LA freeways.

Beside at work place , I do not know any Americans after 40 years living here. Separate but equal.. I love it

12.5% have negative views of us??? well get over it

Since the world does not like American - would the Iranian American popularity would still be much higher than Israel?

Shazde Asdola Mirza

moment agha moment

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Such ingrates; I thought that after the hostages, iran-contra, lebnon attacks, etc etc ... they would be loving us by now!!

S.A.M (an official Khar Vazir)