A newly released poll of 26,000 respondents in 25 countries reveals that Iran is the least popular country in the world. The poll, commissioned by the BBC World Service, found that only 15% considered Iran to have a positive influence in international affairs, while 59% gave it a negative rating.
(The poll is genuine, but the following is fictional. Any similarity to persons or events is purely intentional.)
The findings caused outrage in Iran and among its sympathizers elsewhere. Iran’s Foreign Minister objected: “What we are witnessing is the result of a campaign of demonization and delegitimization against the only Persian country on Earth. It is disgusting, depressing, demoralizing, devastating, disingenuous, and devious, and I’m not even half-finished with the letter D.”
The survey results also were immediately denounced by Ibrahim Foxmadinejad of the Iranian-American Anti-Defamation League (AIADL). “The world’s oldest hatred – intolerance of Persians – has once again reared its ugly head.” Foxmadinejad implored his supporters to open their wallets and give generously to the AIADL to combat the scourge of the new anti-Persianism that represents the greatest threat faced by the Iranian community in more than three weeks, since his last appeal.
The American-Iranian Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) vowed to redouble its efforts at lobbying in Washington, and released the following statement: “If it were not for virtually unanimous support of the President and Congress, the regime in Tehran would have disappeared from the face of the Earth, or perhaps the pages of time. We are truly grateful for our sycophants in the halls of U.S. power, and will continue to isolate, ostracize, and personally ruin those few remaining politicians who dare to even slightly depart from our script demanding full obeisance to Iranian interests.”
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershameini was livid, decrying the “double standards” under which Iran was judged. “Unpopularity should be driven by a ’worst first’ agenda. Other countries have a far worse human rights record. Until every one of those countries is held in as little esteem as we are, this poll reflects a quasi-racial bias against our community.” Dershameini vigorously denied the reports that he had challenged all 26,000 survey respondents to a debate. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Smear artists are exaggerating my remarks to portray me as unreasonable. I only proposed to debate the 59% who gave Iran an unfavorable rating, barely 15,000 people. I anticipate that they will be too cowardly to accept, but that will not prevent me from speaking. I will debate against 15,000 empty chairs if I have to.”
A fundraiser at the Waldorf-Astoria for Friends of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (FIRG) was momentarily halted as news of the international insult spread among the well-heeled attendants. One major donor, speaking on condition of anonymity because he had not given himself permission to do so, said, “While the rest of the world is wallowing in the pig sty of anti-Iranian rhetoric, everybody can kiss our butts. We’re raising $27 million here tonight.”
The reactions of the only other three countries to yield negative poll ratings of greater than 50% – Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel – were much more muted. Pakistan and North Korea said nothing at all, while Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called Iran’s outraged reaction “laughable.” “These simpletons claim that worldwide antipathy to Iran is not based on what they do, but on some sort of racist reaction to who they are, as if anti-Persian feeling were a virus that spreads uncontrollably among the unwashed masses. It’s time for them to grow up and accept their unpopularity as a wake-up call. We here in Israel intend to find out what it is we are doing that is bugging other people, and to simply stop doing it. Our willingness to admit responsibility for our errors and comply with international norms should be a model for Iran to emulate. I doubt they’re up to the challenge.”
At the more favorable end of the poll, Germany was found to have the most positive influence in the world. Chancellor Angela Merkel boasted that the poll proved that the people of the world embrace the “budget-balancing” and “growth-friendly consolidation” measures her country has been pushing on others. She crowed that her tactical use of such positive-sounding phrases rather than the harsh word “austerity” had paid handsome dividends in Germany’s global popularity.