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Global Fears: Is Iran our enemy?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Global Fears & Security

 

The architectural masterpieces in Isfahan, Iran, make it a popular destination for tourists around the world—at least in peaceful times.

The architectural masterpieces in Isfahan, Iran, make it a popular destination for tourists around the world—at least in peaceful times. Photo by Patrick Reggenback, released for public use via Wikimedia Commons.

Iran compared with United States

“Enemy.” This week, we’re looking at the ever-changing use of that word by Americans as we look around the world.

Which countries do you worry the most about?

Iran is usually at the top of the list. In a Gallup poll last year, Americans were asked to name the one country they considered to be “the United States’ greatest enemy today.” More people named Iran than any other country. China was second, but the there was quite a gap between the number one and two spot on the “top U.S. enemy” list.

Iran didn’t always top the enemy list. In 2005, only 14% of Americans named Iran as the nation’s greatest threat. In 2001, it was only 8%. In 2002, then-President George W. Bush called Iran, along with North Korea and Iraq, the “Axis of Evil.”

Iran and the United States didn’t always have hostile relations. Prior to World War II, relations were fairly positive. In the 1950s, the U.S. actually helped Iran start its nuclear program, supplying it (and other countries) with enriched uranium and helping to build Iran’s first nuclear reactor. The intentions were peaceful, but eventually Iran turned to hostile uses of their nuclear technology. Since the Iran Revolution, relations have been antagonistic and aggressive.

Today, Iranians are more likely to blame the U.S. than Iran’s own leaders for the United Nations’ sanctions they now endure, according to a recent Gallup poll. A majority (56%) of Iranians say the sanctions have hurt Iranians’ livelihoods a great deal. Just under a majority (48%) say the sanctions have personally hurt their livelihoods.

Is Iran an enemy?

Do you worry about Iran’s nuclear capabilities?

Do you worry more about Iran or North Korea?

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Categories: Security