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Iranians 'worried about economy'

Iranian money changer (Oct 2008)
Poll suggests a lack of money is top of the agenda on Iran's streets

Iranians are more concerned about their country's finances than tension with the West or political reform, according to a BBC poll.

The survey suggests residents think unemployment, poverty and high inflation are Iran's biggest issues.

It also found there is strong support inside Iran for the country having its own nuclear industry.

The findings come as the BBC launches its Persian television channel for Iran and the wider region.

Nuclear weapons

Those surveyed were asked for the two most important issues facing Iran today and 45% of respondents said unemployment and poverty.

One per cent said hostile relations with the United States and a similar number said lack of democracy or need for political reform.

On the question of whether Iran should be allowed to develop a nuclear industry, 94% of those surveyed agreed.

The president came to power promising to improve economic conditions and the people's verdict according to the poll is that he has failed
Sadeq Saba

BBC Iran analyst

The poll also questioned people in different countries around the world. A third of respondents in the United Kingdom and 18% in the United States agreed with the nuclear industry question. There appeared to be stronger support in Pakistan, with 88% in favour.

But the poll suggested fewer Iranians are comfortable with the idea of their country being able to build nuclear weapons - half of those questioned were in agreement.

Barack Obama

The main findings do not make good reading for President Ahmadinejad, ahead of his bid for re-election in June, says BBC Iran analyst Sadeq Saba.

The president came to power three years ago promising to improve economic conditions, and the people's verdict - according to the poll - is that he has failed.

The only good news for the Iranian authorities in this poll is the fact that more than half of Iranians think that their country is heading in the right direction, says our analyst.

The polls shows that many people are happy that security in Iran is generally good and they haven't faced the same predicament as the Iraqis and the Afghans.

The survey also found 41% of Iranians think Barack Obama being US president will improve relations between the two countries. In the US, almost two-thirds of those asked thought that would be the case.

The poll surveyed a total of 4,163 people at the end of November, after the US election.



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