Iran Feels Heat Over Support for Damascus

(Wall Street Journal) Farnaz Fassihi - Iran's steadfast support for Syria's regime has rapidly eroded Tehran's credibility among Arabs, leaving the country with a foreign-policy dilemma as popular uprisings mount across the region. Meanwhile, Iran's official reaction to the downfall of Col. Moammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya has been measured. Iranian officials, as well as leaders of Iran-backed Hizbullah, appear to have taken a selective approach to the Arab uprisings. A new poll the Arab-American Institute conducted in six Arab countries and released in July showed Iran's popularity has fallen drastically. The poll, taken during the first three weeks of June, asked more than 4,000 Arabs questions that included whether Iran contributed to peace and stability in the Middle East. In Egypt, only 37% had a favorable view of Iran, compared with 89% in 2006. In Saudi Arabia, the number dropped to 6% from 85%, while in Jordan it fell to 23% from 75%. In Lebanon and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, anti-Syrian regime protests have erupted, to the dismay of their governments, which are allied with Iran. In Syria, protesters have burned Iranian and Hizbullah flags, along with pictures of Iran's Khamenei and Hizbullah's Nasrallah as they chanted "Death to the Dictator.

2011-08-31 00:00:00

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