tv Atlantic Council Examines Public Opinion in Iran CSPAN July 31, 2017 8:01am-9:31am EDT
one of the things we do at the atlantic council is u.s. foreign policy with iran and with the obama administration trading sanctions relief with the nuclear program. that the trump administration that the deal has come in doubt to do the necessary or the of minimum to continue the nuclear agreement. to put those sanctions and president trump has expressed happiness with of recommendations of the top advisers to certify that
iran is complying with the nuclear deal. id even suggested in with those necessary certifications. . . the the but the administration has put new sanctions on various iranian individuals and entities. congress has just passed some new sanctions connected mostly to iran's missile program, and president trump has expressed
unhappiness with the recommendations of the top advisers, that he must continue to certify that iran is complying with the nuclear deal. he is also veteran of the u.s. intelligence committee and national intelligence officers for the u.s.-asia. if i could ask you all to please silence your cell phones espec especially because this is on c-span. and feel free to tweet at #aciran. with that, invite ibrahim to come on up. >> okay, so thank you, barbara, for that.
basically going to talk about two polls that we conducted. one before the election and one after it. a lot of the other material i'm going to be presenting is basically based on these two polls and previous polls that university of maryland has conducted in iran over the past decade. now, the main questions that i want to explore today is basically two questions. one is, what is the meaning of rouhani's re-election. and the second is what do most iranians expect rouhani to do domestically, regional and internationally. the topic, the surveys, covered a wide-range of topics. if you look at the material that's been published, you can
see the whole result. in this presentation, i will limit myself to those two maybein questions while covering these issues as well. the polls that, the two polls that were conducted, one of them was conducted about a week before the election. so we'll see some data showing people's attitudes towards the candidate, towards various issues iran is facing. and the other one we did, about a month after the election and 11 days after the terror attacks in tehran. when you see the june data, be mindful this data was collected about a week after the terror attacks in tehran and that's very important. the margin for error for all of them is basically 3.1%. when we talk about the meaning of rouhani's election, there's
been a lot of analysis here in in iran about what does his re-election mean. does it signify that people want to continue with rouhani's policies? are they looking at rouhani as an agent of change? these are the questions that we try to explore in our poll. one of the questions we asked was an open-ended question without providing respondents any option. so they would speak basically their mind. what do you think was the main message and meaning of rouhani's re-election. in response to this question, we see there is no consensus among the iranians. they're basically polled all over the place.
11% say it shows that people are satisfied with his performance. you know, another 11% say it shows that people want him to complete his unfinished tasks and you can look down the list, but i think what is important is first of all, 25% or 26% cannot say what is means and the other one is we see no general consensus. but then we ask respondents, we provide them a set of meanings and ask them whether they agree that those meanings or not. so we -- and these are the list of stuff we told them. and what you see is that people generally agree that ro has beeny's re-election does mean people approve of his foreign policy, approve the jcpoa and to some lesser extent approve of rouhani's economic policies. but then when you say the other
stuff, the deal with the divide basically as we sometimes hear about. we see that there is no general agreement when it comes to people saying it means that people want religion to play a lesser role or they want the ragc to stop testing missiles. what is interesting and this is one of the findings that really surprised me. is that the notion that rouhani's re-election means that people want religious to play a lesser role. people who voted for rouhani are more likely to voice their opposition to this notion than people who voted for rahisi. who want to represent rouhani voters as people who might want something else for the country. so what do people demand then?
if it's -- i mean, if there is no consensus but there is agreement that there -- that rouhani's re-election does mean there is general support for his foreign policy i think would be from -- if you want to look at it, we can look at it from a different angle and ask, okay, what do iranian people want the next present of iran back then? we would talk about the next president. and then the june pole, we were talking about president rouhani. what do they think is the most pressing issue that rouhani should try? that was the question we asked. again, open ended. asking, what is the single most important issue and challenge
that the country faces that rouhani should try to address. and in response to that, we get overwhelmingly people basically mention economic issues. unemployment being on top of the list. now, mind you, this is after a terrorist attack in tehran. so the poll we had asking the same question in may, the unemployment numbers were a lot higher. now, in this poll, some of those numbers have gone down to security issues. which gets four% ss 4%. and others down there. some covered security-related issues. again, after a terrorist attack, when you have 74% naming economic issues as the top priority, that really signifies something. and then we asked them another question. we gave them -- the respondents a range of actions that rouhani could take. and we say, you know, how much of a priority does each of these have from a scale of 0 to 10.
zero meaning doesn't have niany priority. ten meaning it has a lot of priority. security goes on top of the list, but not by much from reducing unemployment. the red is people saying ten. so, you know, they want a lot of things to be a top priority. but as you can see, on top of the list are iran security and then after it is the unemployment issue. in iran. now, we asked about rouhani's standing. through a number of questions. and how the country is doing. and generally we get mixed feelings from the respondents. as far as the economy goes, increasing numbers say that, you know, it's bad. 63% say it's bad. i'm sorry, 63% say it's bad and 33 36% say it's good. but what's important is among
the bad, half of them say it's very bad. and among the good, only 3% say it's very good. so you can see how that is working. and when you ask them, okay, is it getting better or is it getting worse, you know, since june last year, more people say it's getting bad than people are saying that it's getting good. now, we evaluate rouhani on a list of issues. so this shows some, what people sense are of the economy. but the economy is not the only thing. we ask respondents to evaluate rouhani on a number of issues. as you can see, a good number of issues. help gets very good ratings. the top is improving the health
care system. foreign policy. civil liberties. gets sanctions lifted. making iran more advanced. even making iran more self-such self-sufficient. when it comes to economic issues. we get less of a majority saying he has been successful. in fact, in reducing unemployment, a majority say he has been unsuccessful. and that is important because the -- when we go back to the concern people have, which is, as i showed, the unemployment being on top of the list, rating this low makes him pretty vulnerable. now, with these kind of ratings, some ask, okay, if that's the situation, how did he win the election? if people are, you know, if people are saying he has not been successful in the number one issue on top of their head, how did rouhani win that election? now, we have done a lot of polls, before the election and after it.
there are multiple polling entities in iran that covers the election all along. and it provides us with a lot of interest saying information about, you know, how and why rouhani did get re-elected. now, but as an introduction, i want to say that scientific polls, they're very predictivep. in this election. as, indeed, you know, previous ones. now, one, let me give you some examples of that. this is iran poll on the 16th of may. giving an interview to the economist. where it predicted that rouhani was going to get 58% and was going to get 36 percent. this is 16th of may. it was published before the results were out. so it shows how predictive the polls were. visit offer it er ittehran center for public opinion
research, which i'm affiliated, said 57% for rouhani, 35% for raisi. polling agency said 56% for rouhani. by the way, all of these were published before the results. and the outcome of the election was 57% ro han iuhani, 38% raisi. the polls that were conducted about the election were actually only about two percentage points away from the current political results. when we look at those polls and we want to analyze okay how did rouhani get re-elected, one thing that is very, you know, unquestionable, is that rouhani's victory was actually not certain until this person left the race. we'll talk about why that may happen.
and the results would have been much closer. this is a typo. we shouldn't say raisi will have left the race. what i mean is raisi would have left the race in favor of kaloff. when you look at all three of the polls conducted by these entities, these are the two points that we can take away. a month before the election, when we asked people -- actually, not we, this is an iran poll survey, how likely is it that rouhani would lose the election, 61% said it was at least very or somewhat likely. 29% said it was not likely. now, look at this as a result of our may 11 poll. the one we conducted before the election. and these are the numbers. what is important, if you add raisi and numbers and you add ro lane hani's numbers, in this
it's kacase, we have a tie. that if you would add these numbers, you would get a higher proportion of people saying they would vote for opponents of rohani as opposed to rohani. but the trick was in the second choice of the respondents. now, with calioff his supporters were divided between raisi and rouhani. when you ask calioff voters who would you vote for if caliooff would leave the race, 23% said they would vote for rohani as compared to 60% who said they would vote for raisi. over 85% said they would vote for calioff. so if, and this is going back to the second point here, the
results, i cannot say for sure that rohani would have lost. probably he would have won. but the margins would have been so close that, you know, taking into account the 3% margin of error that all polls have. it would have been very difficult to acerscertain what would have happened. now, this is basically, this is from the university of tehran numbers. now, with raisi it was certain, there was never a doubt in any pollster's mind that raisi would lose in a race against rohani. but the thing was not true about ghalibaf. when you put these two together, the 14 is the ghalibaf withdraws from the election on the 15th of may.
and, you know, it's much closer than obviously this. now, so this -- by the way, these are all based on poll numbers. low name recognition. a month before the election, 40% had not even heard of his name. 70% to 80% could not say anything positive or negative about raisi. that shows how, you know, what a low name recognition he had. raisi. the main opponent of -- so right now, he's in charge of the mausoleum of the eighth imam of the shiites which is a charity organization. but it's involved in a lot of business as well. previously, he was, you know, high-ranking official in the judiciary. so -- but, again, very little executive experience. ultraconservative views. by all polling, his campaign performance was not that great. in fact, it was rated to be
poor. and he was running against an incumbent. so put all these into, you know -- so raisi was not that strong of an opponent to begin with. that's why i was personally actually surprised when i saw he got to have 38% of the votes. and when you look at these second term voting history, of iranian presidents, in fact, rouhani got the lowest historically of any incumbent has ever gotten in office. so we should keep all of these in mind as you look at the presidency. you want to look at the ram fa i kas of ss ramifications of his victory and the mandate and forthfulness going forward. going forward with the jcoa, one
of the things that happened in the process of the election, and we'll talk about it, is approval of the jcpoa increased. right now, 67% of iranians say they're at least strongly or somewhat approved of the jcpoa. but again they're disappointed about the economic benefits that the jcpoa has thus far delivered. and this is something -- this is a question we have been asking since the jcpoa. whether the jcpoa has actually improved people's living condition. and 70% say it has not. well, yes, 78% say it has not improved and 28% say it has improved at least a little. when it comes to the united states, attitudes towards the united states and how it is behaving with respect to the nuclear deal. those numbers increasingly people are saying that they're not confident that the united states will live up to its end of the bargain.
now, what is interesting here, i think iranians expected the united states, trump in particular, to be less. basically forthcoming when it comes to nuclear deal. before trump actually took office, the higher number of people were saying that, you know, united states not going to live up to the end of the bargain. but we'll see that this number has come down actually. from 78 to 72. which is significant number. at the end of the day, 72% say they're not confident. 24% say they are confident. and i think the main issue for iranian people and for iranian policymakers as they talk to the iranian people when it comes to the u.s.
is basically article 29 of the jcpoa. where iranians have obtained a promise from the united states and from the united states, from the european countries and from the united states, to refrain from doing anything that would prevent the normalization of regular trade and economic relations of other countries with iran. and this is the main issue that i think is a lot of people are saying in iran. that, in fact, united states is trying to prevent other countries from normalizing their trade relationshipings with iran. and we can see this number increasing from 75% last year who were saying that united states contrary to its obligation is trying to prevent. and this number has now increased to 81%. now, when it comes to donald
trump, all along, there was this assumption that he will do something that wok at odds with the jcpoa. 71% have that feeling. when it comes to the new sanction, we have asked this question. back then, it wasn't certain yet so we phrased it as the united states is thinking about imposing new sarngsnctions on iran because of missiles, helping groups like hezbollah and its stance toward israel. wanted to get their feeling toward these new sanctions. whether they see these new sanctions to be at odds with the jcpoa or in conformity with the cpoa. and we see 14% say it would be compatible. and this is, you know, that's 14%. but 24% say it would be against the spirit. and 49% say it would be against both the spirit and the letter of the jcpoa. and they we ask another question. this is i think the position on this is becoming harder. is that there is some discussion what iran should do if the u.s. abdicates the jcpoa agreement. we gave them two options. one would be to retaliate by
restarting some aspects of the nuclear program that iran agreed to suspend under the jcpoa. or taking the issue to the u.n. and trying to resolve this through the u.n. while remaining, you know, in line with the jcpoa. and previously, there was no majority agreement for retaliation. the -- in december, it was 48%. in may, during the election process, it became -- it went all the way down to 45% who were saying that we should retaliation. but after the attacks and after there was a lot of talk about imposition of the new sanctions, that number has gone up to 55%, who say iran should retaliate if the united states abdicates the deal. now, all of this was bad news for the jcpoa. but then we see jcpoa enjoys a
large majority of iranians who approve of it. the the the the the what is the source of the support? now, from the data, basically three things that i can say. one is that first of all none of the candidates opposed the jcpoa. when the talk was about the nuclear deal, it was who was to make the u.s. and other countries, who's going to make most of the jcpoa as opposed to voicing opposition to negotiating a deal. and that definitely i think helped the deal. the other one is the nuclear deal has proven to be more resilient that the iranians initially thought. that's why when we looked at the numbers before trump takes office, there is much higher percentage saying the united
states is going to walk out of it. when we look at the numbers after he takes office and after some time passes that, you know, less that number of people say that u.s. is going to abdicate it. so i think to people's mind, the deal has proven to be more resilient than originally thought. i think most importantly is that iranian yas have came to other countries. especially europe and not the united states. i think this is the major source of support and comes to the nuclear deal. 53% say they're at least somewhat confident they will live up to their only gations under the deal. and when we asked them have their relationship improved as a result of the jcpoa, between iran and european country it is, 68% say that it has improved as opposed -- as compared to 26% who say it has not improved. so this improvement of relationships. this perception things are improving with the rest of the world. even though think things might
not be getting much better with the united states. has created this optimism. about the jcpoa. 59% say they're optimistic that going forward the jcpoa will make people's life better, even though it hasn't done a thing yet. while 38% say they're not. now, moving from this to the notion of the negotiation. the idea of iran renegotiating the jcpoa either to extend the duration of the limits it has accepted or terminating enrichment altogether. that's a question we put forth to the iranians. we said that trump is trying to renegotiate. and what do you think iran should do if trump threatens to reimpose u.s. sanctions? unless the first question iran agrees to increase
the duration of the nuclear limits it has accepted under the jcpoa and the second one to terminate the nuclear enrichment program. we gave them three option. one is iran should accept the demand. iran should agree to negotiate and accept only if trump agrees to lift more sanctions on iran. and the third one is iran should not agree under any circumstances. and we gave these options for both of the questions. and we see for both of them, there is a majority of people who reject it. now, what is important, when we look at people who approve, people who think the nuclear deal has made people's live's
better, as well as people who voice confidence the u.s. will live up to its end of the bargain. they are more likely to go into the second category of, you know, let's -- that they're more open to renegotiation. but when you look at people who say that the nuclear deal has not made people's lives better or that they feel the united states will not live up to its obligation, they're a lot more likely to reject the agreement. now, i'm going to -- for times sake, i'm going to go into the last section of the results. and that's iran's regional involvement. and a lot of that has been, now, after the terror attacks are being discussed, through that lens. we started collecting data seven days after the terror attacks.
you ask questions about that. and overall, i mean, 52% to an open ended question, when we asked them, who do you think was behind the terror attacks, isis is the number one entity that is named. but also united states and saudi arabia. now, this is an open-ended question. and a closed-ended question. when we asked how likely these entityies provide help and support to these perpetrators. saudi arabia. large majority say it is very likely the per pet traitors received help and guidance from these entities. when we look at people who say iran should increase its support for groups fighting isis, that has increased 12 points since
december. and also got to these favorite numbers. in may, this would be before the election. in may was 55%. you know, only a month later, it jumped up to 61% saying they have their favorable views of them. and he remains on top of the list of individuals that we ask about. followed by zarif and rohani and others. now, the other question you ask is whether iran should send military personnel to syria or not. we give them arguments. one is that, you know, send them -- help -- i mean, send military personnel because if you don't these rebels might come and threaten iran's security, as compared to if you get yourself compared in this conflict, it
will create are mo enemies for iran so iran should not send them. this number had basically remained kind of the same since december. so this number has not gone up. support for sending more personnel to iran has remained constant. despite support for iran's engagement against isis, when it comes to iran's collaborateing with the united states, to fight isis, the number of people who disapprove have actually increased. it is now 55% who disapprove as compared to 44%. but look at the number in august '15, 2015. immediately after the nuclear deal. people were feeling like we accomplished one thing in that area. let's collaborate on other areas. but that since has definitely diminished. now, in conclusion, if there was two things i would take away, one is the economy remains a main concern. of iranians. and i think rohani demonstrated some progress on that front before he could move on doing anything else in other areas. but the other thing which i think is important
internationally is that jcpoa continues. and we see this relationship. to be that litmus test of the direction iran should take going forward. you see that people who think the jcp is working, is making people's life better, they're a lot the more accommodating in a wide range of areas. as compared to people who say it's not working, u.s. is not living up to its end of the bargain. they tend to be a lot more hesitant. to be more accommodating in other areas. and we see the consequence of this. and this pivotal question. about whether iran should focus on self-sufficiency. or whether iran should focus on
increasing its trade with other countries, you know, engagement or looking more and relying more internally. and we see the number of people who say iran should seek self-sufficiency. this number is on the rise. and i think when we look at the number -- the people who say self-sufficiency as compared. this is also linked to their views on the cpoa. so i think jcpoa continues to be this issue, basically this experiment with which through the lens of which there are a lot of iranians evaluating how iran should go working in other areas. okay. >> thanks, ibrahim. a lot to chew on there. almost too much to chew on in a way. i think i just want to ask you the one obvious first question which is always why should we believe these polls. a lot of people will always say, you know, even in the united states they're not terribly reliable. and in iran, you have people who are perhaps a little suspicious of a phone call coming from -- particularly from the outside. this is coming from a canadian outfit, right, that actually conducts the polls. so, you know, why should we have real faith in these numbers?
>> so a few things. first of all, they have demonstrated to be very predictive, in fact. and i show those numbers. one iran poll, when they gave an interview to the economist, three days before the election, they got the numbers right on. rohani's numbers were not very different from the numbers that the polls were saying he was going to get. and we see them being predictive in other areas as well. so that's one reason i think we should basically use the most -- make the most out of these polling data. the other thing is that methodology, when we compare -- for example, response rates in
iran as compared to other countries, the response rates are actually much better. people are not very hesitant to voice their opinions. if all it takes is for you to listen to some of these interviews or people who have interview going to tehran and talking to people in the crowd, as i think you have. generally, you don't get a sense that people are trying to basically hold back the views. actually our experience has been they're actually quite eager to voice them. now, for example, just one anecdotes is usually in the united states we limit, you know, the duration of polls to about ten max. because, you know, if it goes beyond that, people tend to hang up. in iran, we do polls that are 40 minutes long.
and what is interesting is that people not only give their responses to the question but they provide their justification of why that response is accurate. but they go beyond that and say how the question could be improved. so it's a very engaged process. i think if you -- i mean, besides the fact the most important fact that they have been predictive, is that if you just listen o to these interviews, it gives you a lot more confidence. >> i can certainly vouch for that. people do like to give their opinions. i'm going to start with you on the economic aspects of this. and then we've seen all along
that people were very hopeful that the jcpoa would make this huge difference in their lives and yet according to these polls, the economic situation is still bad as far as most iranians think. even a slight majority say that things are worse, right? >> getting worse. >> getting worse. >> getting worse than they were before. what accounts for that? is that just people complaining because they like to complain? how much has the economy really improved under the nuclear deal? and what do you see as the threat out there from the trump administration, this uncertainty, this constant uncertainty over whether the u.s. will continue to abide by its obligations? >> first of all, thank you very much for this session. thank you very much for inviting me. it was very interesting findings you have. i think they confirm to i mean almost 100% the feelings or the issues discussed without new numbers and numerical findings.
you mentioned two things. expectations and uncertainty. people's expectations can move. it's part of economics that people have expectations. when you look at 2016 election, even though the obama administration has really turned around to the economy, it was people felt very -- even unemployment rate was close to 4%, people still felt very, very negative about the economy. the same thing i think is happening in iran. after i would say 12, 13 years of bad, you know, one bad news coming after the other, people's expectatio . . . . . . . . maybe they oversold the deal a little bit too much. nonetheless, it does -- the expectations were very high. and to some extent, they had been met. when people look at the actual numbers in the economy. the economy grew last year by 6.8%. actually moved the needle on the global economy according to imf. it moved the needle by 0.1%. you would think 0.1% is not a big deal. but, you know, when you have this, you see that. a little bit. the worry that people had was deep. that means high unemployment. high inflation rate. that was the fear. so the rouhani government focused on two issues. fiscal policy and monetary policy. that they have succeeded. they need to fix the financial sector and they need to fix the real sector of the economy. which requires many more i would say thorny reforms. but hopefully they will come. do you want me to maybe mention.
i was just, you know, for the preparation of this gathering, i bank bulletin that came out. and a couple of things were quite interesting. you know, in iran when people wanted to put their money somewhere, they would put this into construction. they would put it into buildings, into apartments and so on. what's interesting to see is
that the number of permits given to construction projects has dropped considerably from 173,000 permits to 113,000. it's a huge drop. it's not only in terms of the numbers that have declined but also in terms of the square footage, you know, everything. so iranians are trying to find other ways of investing their money. the construction factor had a 14% decline. that has an impact on employment because construction is a very quick way of generating employment, even though it's not a very permanent employment. it is a way of generating employment. acording to the world bank, the sector declined by 14%. so iranians are under that uncertainty that plagued people not knowing really what to do and you buy something, you buy property, because property will always be there, but maybe not your stock in the stock market. so we see a little bit of change in the perceptions.
which required many, many, more i would reforms but hopefully the day comes when we can mention a few indicators. i looked at the central bank, and buildings and apartments and so on. what's interesting to see is that the number of permits given to construction projects has dropped considerably from 173,000 permits to 113,000.
it's a huge drop. it's not only in terms of the numbers that have declined but also in terms of the square footage, you know, everything. so iranians are trying to find other ways of investing their money. at the same time, what i found is that the manufacturing permits have risen from 5,000 to about 5,400. so the numbers are not that much. i mean, it's only 4, 00 more in this particular period. the value of this 400 has almost doubled. the value of this permits is almost double the ones that were previous. in other words, people are pulling their money. the construction factor had a 14% decline. that has an impact on employment because construction is a very quick way of generating employment, even though it's not a very permanent employment. it is a way of generating employment. acording to the world bank, the
sector declined by 14%. so iranians are under that uncertainty that plagued people not knowing really what to do and you buy something, you buy property, because property will always be there, but maybe not your stock in the stock market. so we see a little bit of change in the perceptions. one more indicator i found to be very interesting was that the volume of imports has declined. as has the -- i mean, the volume in terms of u.s. dollars, it has declined from $54 billion to $44 billion. it's a good decline. and the tonnage has declined from 43 million tons to 43 million tons. it's important. but the value, the unit value of
the imports has gone up. in other words, again, there is a shift. importing now more expensive. perhaps more capital goods. equipment for manufacturing. importing more. thinking more long term by importing more expensive products. maybe putting them into the manufacturing permits that are there. and most of these new or more expensive promdducts are being procured from europe. so the united states is really losing out in my view to a large extent. i was reading that the estimates for how much the united states could make in the next ten years is 1 trillion, million dollars to be made from engagement with iran and that's something that i think the u.s. , the trump administration, the congress is leaving on the table which could actually feed into
creating jobs. >> one thing we certainly have seen, we've seen a big increase. we've seen some investments with the multibillion dollar deal to develop it. we have european companies selling railroad cars and a variety of things. so that may be reflected there. i'm just curious what you make of the numbers, what you think in particular of this implyied threat to restart aspects of the nuclear program that have been suspended under the nuclear deal. i mean, just because iranian public opinion would favor it doesn't mean the iranian government would necessarily do it. but it is an interesting sort of nationalistic response. >> yeah. thanks, barbara. these two basic approaches that
iran could take to -- what you call a u.s. withdrawal from the agreement, and i think for quite some time one could make a case in either of these two directions. one would be to try, for the iranians to try to keep the agreement alive. with the participation of the other five of the five plus one with which they negotiated the deal. and they would be relying on that european support as well as the russian and chinese support. and they would be relying on the isolated position of the united states on this issue as well as other issues as we've seen under this administration such as climate change.
the other approach, and this poll. is to basically say we are free from the nuclear restrictions. and one of the biggest movements from the previous poll to the current poll that you heard ibrahim report was on this very question. whether it was a substantial increase, a rather striking one, of those saying let's respond by resuming the limited nuclear activities. i would say, you know, i would have placed my bets more on the first alternative. i think, you know, these poll results perhaps nudge me a little bit more in a 50/50 direction in terms of what the iranian response would be. it would depend on multiple calculations by the iranian leadership. one would be strictly economic. and some of the things you were just discussing a moment ago with regard to trade patterns, you know, already going more in the european end. that's a basis for calculating. it's better for iran to maintain those newly expanded linkss with the europeans. not to mention the russians and chinese. even though we're not getting
the big enchilada, the united states, as far as trading comments is concerned. the other sort of very rational kind of technical calculation on those would be what would be the advantages of doing expanse pded nuclear activity. the peaceful nuclear program continues. you know, how much more difference would it make to be able to up the limits on enriched uranian or how much heavy water we could stockpile, that sort of thing. my guess is the calculation would be, it wouldn't make a whole lot of difference. and that would be an argument toward taking the first alternative. economic reasons. that said, when you have a poll result like this and, you know, this is the political milieu in which iranian leaders, rouhani
or the supreme leader, has to make decisions and you can't just brush that off and, you know, there might be a calculation along the lines of, gosh, we need to stand up to the americans and how are we going to do it? >> and we saw it just the other day after congress passed the new sanctions that the iranians tested another missile. >> right. >> so, yeah. i'd like your thoughts on that, but also this one other aspect. this has come up, if you could address it as well. some suggestion that there will be an effort to ask for more
inspections of military facilities and in particular this is a strategy on the part of the opponents of the deal who want to put iran in the position where it will refuse such inspections and therefore give the united states an excuse to back out. so maybe you can touch on that as well. what kind of response that would get from the iranian government. >> yeah. >> yeah. >> go ahead and then i'll ask paul. >> well, just -- >> well, my only point would be i think the iranian respondents based on some of the results we heard about their perception of the trump administration and what the united states is doing, its all strikes me as very -- it all strikes me as very accurate. you know, the majority is right. to be very skeptical about, you know, this administration certainly. the willingness to do things. so when you get to things like the inspection gambit i think most iranians i think the public let alone the decision making elites would perceive that as precisely that -- a gambit. which is part of an effort by the opponents of the jcpoa here in the united states to try to get iran to make the first move toward abrogating the agreement or to declaring the agreement dead. and i think that's the sort of cynicism very appropriate and accurate cynicism that would be the starting point for my iranian calculations as to how to respond to it. >> do you agree that iran is going to be very careful of such efforts to push it off the brink there? >> yeah. yeah. let me just address -- add something that paul was saying. i totally agree. when we look at the data, one of
the things we see is that in terms of iran's response to a u.s. abrogation of the deal is that people who feel that iran is benefiting from the deal, there's a lot more likely to be in this category. people to be in the category of people who say that we need to keep this together. that we should not leave the jcpoa, that we should at the most just take it -- take our complaint to the u.n. and see what comes out of it. but then when you look at people who say we are not benefitting from the nuclear deal, they tend to be in the other category. people will say that, you know, you're not benefiting from this deal to begin with. so why should we, you know, accept being humiliated as well? there is also the political dynamic and i think paul is absolutely right. when the u.s. is perceived to openly abrogate the deal, there is an urge to respond. there is a demand that we need to do something in response. that's why when the iran sanctions act, when it was renewed, we saw rouhani say we'll do x, y and z and it was termed in response to the u.s. response to iran. so it's very difficult for the iranian policymakers to basically -- to see the u.s. taking actions that are not perceived to be compatible with
the jcpoa and not at least present themselves as responding in some way. in terms of the inspections one of the -- as another was saying, the -- now, i don't want to say that rouhani administration oversold it, but the perceptions in iran of the nuclear deal is somewhat different from the nuclear deal itself. we saw this in the polls that we conducted immediately after the nuclear deal. people perceived the deal to include all sanctions not just the nuclear related sanctions. people perceived that the deal to be something that's going to basically block any new sanctions from coming forward. and a lot of these misperceptions about the deal were corrected over time. there was one thing that was never corrected that remain -- the misperception remains and it was probably every single iranian general and official said, we're not going to do that. that was allowing inspection of the iranian military sect. the perception was that the deal does not allow inspections of ian military and security installations. that's the perception on the ground. every single iranian general has come on tv after the nuclear deal saying that we are not --
that that's not going to be allowed. so there is this perception that we are not required under the deal to allow inspection of the military sites and if it comes to -- you know, if that misperception becomes corrected i don't know what would be the support level for the jcpoa. as we speak right now, that misperception still remains. so we don't know. >> there was one thing that was never corrected and the p perception remained and it was because every official and general came out saying we will not do that. the perception in iran was the deal does not allow inspections of iranian military and security instillations. that is the perception on the ground. every single iranian general has come on tv after the deal saying
immediately when this idea of inspections came up and you remember and iraq was not allowing inspectors and they wanted to -- and they decided to go to iraq and a lot of people go wandering around. >> they have been going around telling the new england people don't take this person objection personally because trump is essentially on all of the
government be it against nato, against the paris accord, even internally. they are trying to put the trump objection into context. you should not take this as if it is against the budget. it is part of trump's personality rather than the specifics of the deal. they are trying to manage this problem. >> let's listen up. >> that's very interesting. let's open up. if you have a question for one of the particular panelists please address it and wait for a microphone. yeah. all the way in the back. say your name. yeah. right there. i see a hand. say your name and ask a question. >> hi, i'm mary ann. my question is for ibrahim. thank you so much for the presentation. so based on the numbers and
statistics that you've presented so we could see -- you know, president rouhani and -- pre-election were close to each other. my question is that why did abbas leave the race? because he maybe had the chance to win, but why did he leave the race? thank you so much. >> he was the mayor of tehran. still the mayor of tehran, but not for much longer. >> that's a very good question. first of all, the fact that one of them had to remain in the race and the other -- and one -- the other opponent had to leave was -- i mean, it was a sound decision, otherwise, the vote would have been slitted. it would have been as if hillary and sanders would have remained in the race to compete with trump.
that would have not only assured the victory of the other side. would have divided us that such that the conservatives are not able to say we got, you know, 40% of the vote. you know, the vote would have been divided. the fact that one of them had to remain and one of them had to leave was something that was agreed on from the beginning for very good reasons. now, the question is, why did rouhani remain and why didn't -- why didn't the -- it go the other way around? there was a lot of conspiracy theories out there. as far as the numbers goes, all the pollsters knew that he had no chance of winning over rouhani. the gap between them was 20 percentage points. you cannot close that gap. whereas the gap between the opponent and rouhani is five percentage points. that's a gap you can close in
the election like in iran. again, as i said, there's a lot of theories out there why that is, but from what i have heard the most perhaps and the simplest reason was that the opponent realized that he's not leaving. once that was -- you know, once he became assured of that, there was no reason for him to remain in the race. and get a lower percentage of votes from the public than he got, you know, four years earlier. so -- >> wasn't there also an understanding that the supreme leader of the country was supporting ray hesy? one is being groomed to be the next supreme leader. >> the conspiracy theories go both ways. there's the other theory that it was -- that this was purposely and it was planned to discredit this person because he lost the
election. it was obvious that he was going to lose. why would you -- you know, push your favorite whatever to be slaughtered? so again, there's the -- there are conspiracies out there. and as far as the polling numbers goes, that's what i can tell you. what happened behind the scenes to result in the fact -- to result in pulling out and not the other way is the -- we have to wait for this story to come out. >> it's interesting his popularity has increased. since the election he's at 56%. >> his popularity -- let me put it this way. he had very low name recognition. >> now he -- >> people did not know him. people could not -- as i said, 40% could not recognize his name. and about 80% could not say anything positive or negative about it. but i think that puts it at 80%.
now he has attained name recognition but he has people who like him and he has people who don't. >> right. right here. >> thank you, barbara, for this great program. you mentioned that the iranians are putting a lot of hope in -- on the countries to save the jcpoa. it seems to me at the end of the day the europeans are more concerned about the relationship with the united states to maintain the relation shap than with iran. so what do you think? >> so that's a very good question. i think at the end of the day, the support for the jcpoa and also this is a litmus test for the direction that iran is going to take going forward. if people see that in fact this treaty is going to be -- is
being supported by the europeans despite the u.s., that's going to get the people to the more supportive policies. but at the end of the day if it's a multilateral agreement like the jcpoa could be violated or be forced to fail by a single party to that agreement, that's going to send a different message. that's going to send a message that perhaps accommodation, perhaps negotiation, perhaps taking conciliatory measures is not the best way forward. now, i think the jury is still out. i think a lot of iranian people hope and perhaps expect that europeans are not going to play
along with the americans if the americans abrogate the deal. but if they -- if their expectation turns, you know, the other way around, i think that's going to be having a significant affect on the world view and how they view the world and iranian's place in the world. >> each instance of trump pushing the united states further into isolation and into an international minority is part of the context for the next instance and how europeans or anyone else will react to that. i think the whole recent history of the climate change issue plays into this very well. and what was the response there? by the europeans as well as everyone else. it was, okay, we're moving ahead despite this guy in the white house. and i don't see other reasons on other issues why the europeans are in a mood to play any favors for donald trump when he does
things like before the g20 meet goes to sing the praises of the party and they start pulling what they're doing which is one of the most difficult issues that the eu is handling. i think it's all related. it's not just jcpoa and isolation in response to your question. >> we should point out the role in the european union in negotiating this agreement and the european union high representative, i think she's been here five times since president trump was inaugurated and every time the number one thing she emphasizes is support for the nuclear deal. >> yeah. maybe sort of like add to it. that on the side of iran, the argument right now is to let's make sure that we comply with the jcpoa. even the europeans, don't give them the slightest excuse to find a wrinkle in this. so i think that the iranians are using this also as a way of complying -- of keeping their own compliance. because if they don't comply, then they leave the door open and they shouldn't be too upset
if the europeans turn away. and so it is -- you know, the fact that the europeans are still there and that the iranians want the europeans to stay there keeps also the compliance in place. >> gentleman right there. >> my name is derek boyd. a common thesis in the united states is that sanctions are the principal determinant about what happens in the iranian economy. i was wondering from the result of your poll since the iranians expect rouhani to do something about the economy, would the iranians have the same thesis? >> let me speak about public opinion and not on the economics side. so that's why you see the last slide i showed you, we see a movement away from a sense that the urgency needs to be given to more international engagement
and more towards a focus on domestic capabilities and self-sufficiency. so as people feel that nothing is coming out of this nuclear deal and the foreign policy direction, and by the way, a lot of things are happening to -- good things to the iranian economy. it's just that it's not trickling down. now, whether it will trickle down or not, that's an open question. but as far as the public ordinary people go, they don't feel much of a change or much of an improvement in their daily life. that's why there is this notion, this notion is becoming further strengthened that we need to look after our own affairs domestically. we need to focus on our own domestic capabilities to take care of our foreign needs as opposed to being reliant on the outside world.
and that number is slowly increasing. right now i think it's the majority of 60 some percent would say that's the path that iran should take. >> i think that's precisely the silver lining of this arrangement or at least the situation is that the iranians are really having much more -- i would say much more distinct talk about reforms in the -- inside the country. that the ball is now in their court to reform of course the banking sector. there's not enough capital that is moving around. to reform the labor market, to reform the pension laws, to reform everything. i mean, it's just like a little bit more -- they're really doing some of the reforms that would free up the resources in this society. and not just the natural resources but the human resources. and there's an understanding that all of these regulations and impediments are holding back
the ability for the iranians to move forward. >> yeah, indeed there's a lot of capital that has been pointed out there's stock in real estate, so on. iran wants foreign direct investment. but if its own population would put more into the economy it wouldn't need as much. it needs some technology, some expertise from the outside, but a lot of capital already in the country. right there. >> ibrahim, great poll presentation especially coming from an outsider. it's great to see iranian opinion especially since we kind of get, you know, this conception here and good to see iranian people go out to the polls and at least have some kind of voice. especially in an authoritarian government.
my question is about the results of the election. you know, 73, 74% voter turnout is a pretty significant number. i'm wondering what kind of message that's going to send to the region especially to with regards to saudi arabia, you know, the other gulf state players and can you also comment about iran's deterrence strategy. that's something that's coming out a lot lately. thank you. >> yeah, i'm going to give you those -- to you, paul, but i'm going to add on something. there was another finding and i wrote about this today. even though most iranians said they should continue to test missiles or should not listen to the united states or other countries on that, over 30% said they'd be willing to participate in a discussion about the nature of the missile program, ie, have confidence building measures this was just for defense and deterrence.
but paul, talk about the regional situation. the poll also had some results about them supporting the fight against isis and intervention in syria, so on. >> in direct response to the question, we need comparable poll results in the gulf regions how they would perceive these things and the factor that you raise that there's free election going on on the other side of the gulf. how important that is with regard to ethnic or sectarian -- the other things that we don't like about the iranians. maybe someone could point to those results. i'm not aware of any in particular. but to get to your further question, barbara, i found interesting in these results because they play right into so much of the discussion or i should say they're a counterpoint to so much of the discussion here in the united states about the regional activity of iran that's maligned, nefarious and
aggressive and hegemonic and all the other adjectives that get applied to it. iranian decisionmakers have behind them in the sorts of public opinion we saw in the poll results very strong sense that there are activities that iran ought to be doing for legitimate reasons. on the missiles of course there's the whole background, the war of the cities in which it was iran as a victim of iraqi missiles that was the main story there. you have other governments -- states in the region that have been ahead of iran in many respects. the saudis are the ones who many years brought in chinese intermediate range missiles. the israelis obviously have considerable capabilities. and then as you saw in those questions about things like troops in syria and countering isis, and that's against the
backdrop of the terrorist attacks in tehran. just picture what the discussion would be here in the united states and what the tolerance for not just tolerance for, but demand for action of a military sort in the middle east if we had the comparable attacks here in washington, d.c. in other words against our capitol and say the washington monument. that would be roughly the equivalent of what happened in tehran. >> congress would be -- >> oh, the gloves would be off, whether it was trump or anyone else in the white house. the demand would be do whatever. syria, iraq, iran we have to strike out, lash out against anybody who looks like they're on the same half of the globe as isis. and yet we see, there's this support to the syrian regime. that's nefarious, maligning. destabilizing all the rest. i think the poll results in
terms of putting in context of what we hear so much about are quite important. >> anecdotically too, i was in iran in 2012 and there was not much support for iranian intervention in syria at that time. but after isis popped up and declared itself, all of a sudden a picture changed. that was when public opinion in iran began to switch towards yes, let's fight them over there rather than fighting them in our own country. >> i just might add the way the conflict in syria has evolved over the last couple of months now we have more direct combat of iranian supported syrians as well as other iranian supported elements going against isis as opposed to other opposition groups. >> two points i want to add to what was said. i think the iranians in general do support the missile.
perhaps they don't support what is written on the missiles. i think that's -- i mean, this was mentioned very often during the debates. you know, this is what's derailing -- that's one thing. the second point i wanted to mention the whole issue with terrorist attacks, they have really started not to discuss the issue of the telegram, the social media that is -- this fairly airtight whether it comes to privacy. but it seems now that these terrorists were using telegram as a way of communicating with each other, coordinating, so on. so now the question is how much safety do we want and security do we want to have versus privacy? so it's a big debate going on. the same kind of debate that was going on in the united states about, you know, facebook and with everything.
so it's a bit of a tradeoff on these issues. >> wait for the microphone. >> i'm jeff guard, a former attache in iran for five years in the late '60s and early '70s. my question is prompted by the death last week of the great, great mathematician at stanford. it seems to me -- and this has to do with the reference to human resource development, she's an extremely interesting example of the process that's been triggered in iran at the earliest stages of the revolution. she was first of all a graduate of the system, a very special girls school. which is in virtually every city in iran today has another --
as they call them. next she went to the sha deef university which is a major center for interchange in science and mathematics and so forth. and then finally she was allowed to come to the united states and do a doctorate at harvard. and she was then allowed to stay here and all the rest. now, that's a hefty investment in education. not only higher education, but k-12. all the way through and in the post graduate allowance to pursue foreign studies and to use it. now, how does the world bank see that kind of investment, how do the rest of you see it as we all know, education payoffs are very late in coming. we all see that. they're not very spectacular but they're important, how does the bank see that? >> well, thank you very much for raising this issue. i couldn't have asked for a better segue.
you are very much right. tree men douse human resource in iran that are totally underutilized. you mentioned mirian, the vice president for mr. rouhani -- the vice president, we don't know what's going to happen to her in the next cabinet, but wrote a piece that there are many more mirians in iran and here, exactly. in iran, 70% of science and mathematic science and engineering students in iran are women. that's 60% in general, but 70% in science and engineering. in other words, the preponderance of women going into the s.t.e.m. field, which are so difficult to attract women into in the western countries, it's easy for women
and women do sort of get attracted to this field. using these talents is one of the very, very critical challenges of iran. iran has one of the highest numbers of legal barriers for women in the economic barriers to women. 23 barriers -- i mean, men are facing a number of barriers but women are facing 23 barriers, even more, according to the world bank and ifc, you know, survey. that according to the imf report if iran were to remove these barriers it could increase its gdp by 40%. it's not an insignificant amount. i mean, this is one area to gain a lot of growth. the recent world bank report a couple of months ago raises this issue as a very, very important
rate -- as an important comment. the participation rate of women in iran is among the lowest in the world. it's about -- according to the iranian statistics it's 13%, according to ilo statistics because they do other things, it's around 16%. out of the very low level of participation given the fact that, you know, the skills are not an issue because women are going to university, the unemployment rate for women is twice the rate of men. it's 20.7%. male unemployment rate is 10.5%. so when people are talking about unemployment rate about, you know, jobs, we're actually talking about an unemployment rate for women, unemployment rate for the youth, for young people, for educated. and that's where it's hurting. it's not because, you know, they have done the unemployment rate among the lower educated women
in the -- you know, in the rural areas. in fact the unemployment rate in the rural areas is much lower than in urban areas. it's a female urban you know educated problem. and those cannot be just, you know, sort of like with the switch of jcpoa turned around. they need to have really serious talk about what position they want to have women in this society after they have educated them. after they have -- after these woman have proven what they can do. i think that's hopefully one of the important agendas that mr. rouhani will tackle in the coming year. >> supposedly he's going to appoint three female ministers to his cabinet. this is the expectation. but yes, iran wants to be resilient, have a resilience or a resistance, however you translate it, if it uses the ability of the women it will be further along, absolutely.
>> and i think when people say we need to rely on domestic capabilities a lot more, we need to focus on what we have inside the country as compared also, you know, to -- to see what we might get -- they're precisely referring to those capabilities. to those existing resources that are already -- that already exist. the fact that the educated sector -- segment of the society are more likely to be unemployed than uneducated that's something that the country does not address. regardless of what happens with the jcpoa, it was going to come back and haunt them. >> absolutely. >> a brief follow-up. >> very quickly, yes. >> a very, very prominent,
similar to dr. mizahany, at the university of pennsylvania, i asked her how do the mullahs feel about the education movement which is bound to undermine in the long run iran. they have a policy that you know well -- don't ask/don't tell. >> can i point out actually i met women seminarians and they're trying to beat them at their own game. >> the iranian women amaze me all the time. i was reading yesterday that there are 140 probably -- probably 140 iranian filmmakers participating in some event in italy. to me, like 140 filmmakers, i didn't know iran had 140 filmmakers, period. >> these are women.
>> women filmmakers. and every other sector as well. so women are making -- >> right. do we have any other questions? we stunned you all with all of this information? paul, let me come to you for then a final thought just on the fate of the jcpoa. we were talking about this before the event started. do you think the united states is going to continue to abide by it? or do you think that, you know -- i don't know, supposedly steve bannon has a white board somewhere that he checks off campaign promises and i guess getting rid of the jcpoa may be one of them. >> it evidently is and whether it's on bannon's white board or not, the president has made his intentions quite clear. and i think, you know, we have these -- you mentioned the stratagem of the inspections and of trying to take something that might be, you know, a minor
technical violation and construing it as a basis for declaring that the iranians are not in compliance with the agreement or going far enough with our own moves, you know, ibrahim pointed out the cause of the jc -- the clause in the jcpoa about refraining from discouraging normal congress with other governments. well, when you have the spokesperson of the white house at the g20 summit very openly, explicitly calling on the europeans not to do business with iran, it's pretty hard to say that that's not a violation, you know, of that agreement. so whichever one of these strategies will be -- i think the intentions of this president are very clear unfortunately and setbacks in things like health care make this box on bannon's white board or in the mind of the president even more important to check off. it makes me very sad to say
that, but i'm extremely pessimistic. >> well, we have some time before then and i hope we can raise awareness about the agreement and about the attitudes of iranians toward it. perhaps we can convince president trump that if he watches c-span -- i don't know if he watches c-span. >> when he gets tired of "fox & friends" -- >> when you get tired of "fox & friends" watch c-span. you can see all the reasons why hopefully we can keep this agreement going forward. thank you so much and thank you to all the speakers and we'll see you back here again soon.
today the american conservative holds a discussion on traditional urbanism and the responsible development of our cities and towns. live coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. tonight on the communicators. >> as the internet grew and there were jobs and people are putting things online and there's money at risk, all of a sudden hackers started getting jobs doing security. so i kept getting these e-mails of people telling me, give me an announcement that makes it sound professional. i have to convince my boss to send me there for my job. i was rewriting them to make them sound corporate and more professional. finally one of my friends came up and said, you know what? you should throw a real conference, charge real money and make it a professional conference. i thought that was brilliant. but i didn't have the money at
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