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Last Updated: Friday, 3 February 2006, 02:31 GMT
Iran 'has negative role in world'
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Ahmadinejad's nation fared worst in the survey
Iran is the country most widely viewed as having a negative influence in the world, with the US in second place, a new poll for the BBC suggests.

The survey for the BBC World Service asked how 39,435 people in 33 nations across the globe saw various countries.

Views of China, Russia and France have declined in comparison to a similar survey at the end of 2004.

Japan is most widely seen to have a positive influence. Europe has the most positive scores of all in the poll.

West negative

The survey by the international polling firm GlobeScan and the University of Maryland took place between October 2005 and January 2006.


According to the poll, no country had a majority with a positive view of Iran's role in the world, apart from the Iranians themselves.

On average, just 18% say Iran has a positive influence, while 47% believe the state's role is negative.

Europe and North America have the largest majorities expressing a negative view - with Germany, the US and Italy the most negative about Iran.

Iran is embroiled in a row with the US and European Union over Western fears it is attempting to build nuclear weapons.

Tehran says its nuclear programme is aimed solely at energy production.

Ups and downs

The US has lost ground in some key allied countries, the survey suggests.

In France, 65% had a negative view of the US, up from 54% in the 2004 poll. In Britain the numbers went from 50% to 57%.

Negative views of the US are also up by 20 points in China, eight points in Australia and nine points in Brazil.

Views of China have declined sharply over the last year, according to the poll.

Among the 20 countries polled both years, the number rating China positively has dropped from 13 to eight, while those rating it negatively have risen from three to seven.

But overall, China continues to have more backers than detractors.

Several European countries have developed more negative perceptions of Russia since 2004, the poll suggests.

However, 31 of the 33 states' populations gave Japan a positive rating.

None of the countries had a predominantly negative view of Europe.

The average is 53% positive and 15% negative, excluding the European states asked.

The margin of error in polling ranged from 2.5% to 4%.

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