Americans Only Hate Two Countries More Than Iran

Twice as many Americans disapprove as approve of the nuclear deal the Obama administration made with Iran and implemented last month

Feb 17, 2016 at 11:09 AM ET

Americans are still not big fans of Iran, even after the historic nuclear deal between the two nations. In fact, Americans only view two nations more unfavorably: North Korea and Syria, according to a Gallup poll released on Wednesday.

The nuclear deal made between the U.S. and Iran with was hailed by the Obama administration as a step forward in international diplomacy. But it hasn’t changed American’s views toward Iran, probably because most don’t agree with it to begin with. More than half (57 percent) of Americans disapprove of the deal, and less than one-third (30 percent) approve. Fourteen percent of those asked had no opinion about it.

Iran freed several American prisoners, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, in January after the U.S. lifted sanctions under the deal in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program. When it was implemented, Obama was hopeful it would be a symbol of warming relations between two adversaries. “We have a rare chance to pursue a new path — a different, better future that delivers progress for both our people and the wider world,” he said.

A month later, most Americans still disagree, especially Republicans and Independents. Only 9 percent of Republicans approved of the Iran deal, while 80 percent disapproved, and for Independents, 30 percent approved while 53 percent disapproved. They were polled between February 3 and 7.

Iranians are more optimistic about the deal, according to a separate Gallup poll conducted in September 2015 that found 51 percent of Iranians thought the deal would improve relations between the two countries. More than two-thirds of Iranians said they thought their government had negotiated a good deal.

American disapproval for the deal might be a reflection of how they feel about Iran in general. Americans disapprove of only two countries more than they disapprove of Iran, the same survey found. Only 14 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Iran, while 79 percent have an unfavorable view. That’s the lowest favorability rating of any country in the world except for Syria and North Korea, which have 12 percent and 8 percent favorability ratings among Americans, respectively.