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News number: 9101140018

16:31 | 2012-04-02

Foriegn Policy

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US Polling Center: Egyptians Want Iran to Replace US as Strategic Partner

TEHRAN (FNA)- A new survey conducted in post-revolution Egypt found that the Muslim nation has an increasingly deep trust and admiration for Iran and wants a replacement of the US with Iran in their country's foreign policy.



An overwhelming majority of Egyptians support replacing US economic aid with funds from Iran or Turkey, according to new poll results, while a decreasing number of the subjects view the treaty with Israel as positive.

Eighty-two percent of the Egyptians questioned opposed US economic aid to Egypt - according to the figures released this weekend by the US-based Gallup polling organization - up from 71% in December 2011 and 52% last April.

The latest figures, released in 2010, show US assistance to Egypt at $1.7 billion - the fifth-highest foreign aid package after Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Still, $1.3 billion of that sum is earmarked for military purposes, and Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has given no indication it intends to cut its portion of Washington's package.

Egyptians' attitudes toward US aid appear to have soured at the same time as American and European NGO employees faced charges of illegally accepting foreign funds and stirring unrest. The military council closed the NGOs in December, but a month ago dropped the charges against the six US workers and lifted the travel ban against them, a move which has angered people and parties from across the political spectrum.

The NGO saga continues to stir strong emotions among citizens in Egypt, and the country's parliamentary speaker - representing the Muslim Brotherhood - has called for an investigation into how the decision to remove the travel ban was issued.

A Gallup poll released last month found 56% of Egyptians view relations with the US as bad for their country, up from 40% in December of last year. Just over a quarter say closer relations with Washington are a positive thing, compared with 41% who favor closer ties with Iran.

The latest results indicate only 19% of Egyptians express approval of US government policy, while 65% disapprove and the rest are undecided.

On the whole, Egyptians said they view their country as a rising power on the world stage. Nearly eight in 10 Egyptians expect the country's geopolitical position to improve due to Mubarak's resignation, around the same figure as in the immediate aftermath of the longtime dictator's ouster.

Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh - a presidential contender and ex-Brotherhood leader who left the group after it said it wouldn't field a candidate - told Egyptian TV last month that as president, he would not maintain relations with anyone who "harms the relations of Egypt".

Asked it he would recognize Israel, he said, "I have not recognized Israel to this day, and will not recognize Israel."