Iran, US, Russia get negative ratings in BBC World Service poll

MUMBAI: Concern about Iran's plans for developing nuclear power appears to have contributed to it being voted as having the 'most negative' influence on the world in a poll of 33 countries including India for BBC World Service. The US had the second highest 'mainly negative' rating with Russia in third place.

Researchers from GlobeScan and the Programme on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa) questioned 39,435 people between October 2005 and January 2006.

On average across the 33 countries polled, 47 per cent of people believed Iran is having a 'negative influence' - with support for this view highest in Germany (84 per cent), the US (81 per cent) and Italy (77 per cent). British critics stood at 72 per cent.

PIPA director Steven Kull said, "It appears that world public opinion does not look kindly on governments engaging in suspicious nuclear activities as in the case of Iran. Or becoming more authoritarian in the case of China and Russia or occupying another country without international approval as with the United States. On the other hand, countries and regions that engage the world primarily through soft forms of power (such as diplomacy) including Japan and Europe tend to get good marks."

GlobeScan president, Doug Miller said, "In the court of public opinion, Iran is judged a mainly negative player in the world. Russia and the US continue to languish at the lower end of the league table. Europe continues to be seen as a mainly positive player. It will be interesting to see what impact the next year of drama over the Iranian nuclear programme has on these ratings."

The highest 'mainly positive' rating went to Europe (as a whole) followed by Japan, France and Britain. Japan received a 'positive' vote from 31 of the countries polled, the dissenting voices were China and South Korea. France was described as having a positive influence by 28 of the counties polled.

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