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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 March 2007, 01:41 GMT
Israel, Iran top 'negative list'
By Nick Childs
BBC world affairs correspondent

Graph showing country influence
A majority of people believe that Israel and Iran have a mainly negative influence in the world, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests.

It shows that the two countries are closely followed by the United States and North Korea.

The poll asked 28,000 people in 27 countries to rate a dozen countries plus the EU in terms of whether they have a positive or negative influence.

Canada, Japan and the EU are viewed most positively in the survey.

'Traditional divides'

In January, the BBC World Service revealed polling results that suggested most people think the US has a mainly negative influence in the world - and that the numbers had increased significantly in the last couple of years.

This latest GlobeScan survey, mostly of the same people, confirms those findings.

But it also suggests that two countries are viewed even more negatively - first Israel, and then Iran.

North Korea is just behind the US.

Israel, of course, has long provoked sharp international reactions, and last year was involved in a controversial war in Lebanon.

Iran and North Korea have both been at the centre of international disputes over their nuclear programmes.

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Canada, Japan, and the EU are viewed most positively, perhaps because they have all taken less high-profile roles in the world's recent confrontations.

India is one country in the survey that seems to have improved its standing in the last year.

In general, opinion seems to divide along the traditional fault lines of international politics.

Israel is viewed most negatively in the Muslim countries of the Middle East, although also in Europe.

Iran is viewed most positively in the Muslim world.

Japan is generally viewed positively, except in China and South Korea.

The EU similarly gets good marks, except most notably in Turkey, and also in parts of the Middle East.


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