According the poll conducted by iPOS in June 2015 to study the legacy of the six-year-old Green Movement (the movement that arose after the controversial 2009 presidential election), 59% of Iranians say that there was no fraud in the proceedings while 19% still accuse the government of fraudulent conduct. Twenty-two percent register alternative responses such as “I don’t know”, “I have no idea,” or other options.

The public is also split over whether or not it is appropriate for demonstrators to protest in the streets. Thirty-nine percent approve of such demonstrations, while 40% disapprove. When people were asked whether they favored or opposed the way police react to street protests, 40% say the police reaction is justified, while 35% say it’s not justified.

The iPOS findings regarding the poll are as follows:

Legitimacy of the 2009 Presidential Election

Fifty-nine percent of Iranians say that there was no fraud in election, while 19% still view the government as culpable for what they regarded as a fraudulent election. Twenty-two percent register alternative responses such as “I don’t know”, “I have no idea,” or other options.

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Respondents were markedly split by their level of education, location (urban or rural areas) and by the Human Development Index (HDI), level of the provinces in which they reside. Those respondents who had a higher level of education, were located in an urban area, or resided in a province with a higher HDI were more likely to say there was a fraud in 2009 presidential election.

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According to this poll, 89% of respondents aged 24 or more say they voted in the 2009 presidential election, very close to the 85% official voter turnout.

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The Right to Demonstrate

The public is split over whether or not it is appropriate for demonstrators to protest in the streets. Thirty-nine percent approve of such protests, while 40% disapprove. Five percent say it depends on laws and regulations and 4% believe it would be better if protestors specifically did not gather in the streets. Twelve percent register alternative options including “I don’t know” and “I have no idea.”

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When respondents were disaggregated by demographic variables (age, gender, location, and HDI of the province in which they reside), those respondents who have a higher level of education and are located in urban areas are more likely to support the street protests.

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Police Reaction

When respondents were asked about whether they favored or opposed the way Police react to street protests, 40% say the police reaction is justified, while 35% say it’s not justified. Two percent believe it depends on laws and regulations and 23% register “I don’t know,” “I have no idea.” or other options.

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The analysis of data indicated that approval of the right to demonstrate was statistically significantly different among those who are located in urban areas and have higher educational levels.

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Protester Identity

A majority of Iranians say those who protested on the streets after the 2009 presidential election were ordinary people and students (youth,) assessed at 41% and 21% respectively. On the other hand, just 6 percent believe that the protesters had been guided by foreign countries or that they had a plan to subvert the regime. Nine percent say they were rich people and 23% register other options such as “I don’t know” and “I have no idea.”

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Respondents to this question were markedly split by their gender, level of education and location (urban or rural areas).

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Green Movement vs Sedition

After the presidential election in 2009, there was antagonism between the government and its opponents. Opponents named themselves the Green Movement, but the government viewed their actions as intrigue, labeling the movement sedition.

Those surveyed were asked which of these two names better describes what happened after the election. Respondents are split evenly, 28% for each side. Nine percent say neither of these wordings is accurate and 4% believe that what happened in 2009 after the election can be legitimately described as both. Thirty-one percent register other options such as “I don’t know” or “I have no idea.”

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Future of the Green Movement Leaders: Freedom, Trial or House Arrest

Iranian opposition leaders Mirhosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi have been under house arrest since February 2011. Only 31% of respondents in this survey knew this fact.

Another disputed subject regarding the 2009 presidential election is whether or not the Green Movement leaders in fact deserve to be under house arrest. Some say that because they have not been charged with any crime under Iranian law, the government should free them immediately. Some believe they should face prosecution for their actions after the election, that they have a right to defend themselves publicly, and that any charges against them should be proven in a court of law. The last option is house arrest without any charges, which has been favored by the government.

Poll conductors asked which of these three options would be the best-case scenario in the view of the respondents (those who previously were not aware of the current situation of green movement leaders were informed of the fact of their house arrest before being asked this secondary question.)

Twenty-one percent believe that the government should free the leaders immediately. Nineteen percent say Green Movement leaders should be asked to present evidence of their fraud allegations in a court of law. Eight percent suggest that everything should be dependent on law, and just 6 percent think the house arrest is the best option.

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Marked differences are apparent across age cohorts, with those who are age 45 and older more likely to say the government has to free the leaders.

Possibility of Demonstrations after the 2013 Election

Respondents were asked what should have happened if the 2013 presidential election results varied greatly from what was expected. To wit: in such a case, should people once more go to the streets and protest?

Forty-eight percent of respondents said no, 24% said yes (or maybe) and 25% register other options like “I have no idea” or “I don’t know.”

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Survey Methods:

  • Results are based on telephone interviews conducted from June 6 to 12, 2015 with a randomly selected sample of 1048 Iranian adults aged 18 and older who are currently residing in Iran.
  • The iPOS proportional two-stage sample includes respondents on landlines and cellular phones representing every province.
  • Based on the sample, it can be stated with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ± 3 percentage points.
  • Results are weighted by gender, age and location (urban vs. rural areas) based on the Iranian national census of 2011.
  • Native Persian speakers conducted the interviews during daylight hours in Iran. Interviewers were trained prior to conducting the poll.
  • HDI (Human Development Index) is a composite statistical index measuring well-being across a number of different variables such as education, income, and health.
  • This poll was conducted for Iranwire.