The Washington Times - June 12, 2013, 09:01AM

A new survey has found that majorities in more than three dozen countries have a negative view of Iran, a nation that is preparing to elect a new president on Friday and faces near-constant scrutiny over its burgeoning nuclear program.

The Pew Research Center survey also found that most respondents in 39 countries polled feel that leaders in Tehran do not respect the personal freedoms of their own people.

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About 70 percent of Americans expressed an unfavorable view of Iran, an attitude that was exceeded in Western Europe and Israel, where at least eight in 10 persons have a negative opinion of the Middle East nation.

The Obama administration is amping up its economic pressure on Iran, and American diplomats “are publicly questioning the credibility of the June 14 election, which will elect a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, especially after two prominent politicians were banned by the government from participating,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Majorities in 24 of the 39 nations surveyed do not think Iranian officials respect their citizens’ rights, while opinion is more divided in countries such as Russia (24 percent think Iran respects freedoms, while 42 percent think it does not), the research group found.

Pakistan was the only surveyed nation in which a majority (57 percent) felt Iran respects its people’s liberties.