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Inside Iranian Protests: Insights from a Confidential Survey

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According to 62.1% of Iranians, “In the current situation, we will not get our rights unless we protest,” as read in a leaked internal survey the Iranian regime had conducted following the major Iran protests that erupted in September 2022.

This survey has been revealed as a part of documents obtained by the Iranian dissident group “GhiyamSarnegouni” during its infiltration of the Iranian regime’s presidential websites and servers.

The leaked survey concludes that “This opinion poll reveals that despite ongoing protests, people’s primary concerns are still economic problems. Furthermore, the level of anger towards the government has a significant impact on protest actions, outweighing the influence of social networks by approximately nine times.”

While revealing the depth of Iranian people’s hatred toward the regime and the society’s restiveness, the survey’s statistics reflect only a partial reality of Iran today, as many people cannot give their true opinion due to the fear of arrest and torture by many state agencies.

The text and translation of this opinion poll are below:

Title: Survey on Public Opinion in Iran Regarding Protests (2022-2023)

Subject: Attitudes of Iranian Citizens Towards Protests and Related Issues

Sender: Ministry of Interior, Letter No. 37095

Date: December 11, 2022

Statistical Population: Individuals aged 15 and above in urban areas nationwide

Statistical Sample: 4,000 respondents

Commissioned by: Student Opinion Center (ISPA), Social Affairs, Social Monitoring Center

 

Key Findings:

  1. Top concerns:

– Economic problems: 32.2%

– Protests in the country: 24.9%

– Employment: 7%

– Security: 4.2%

– Personal life problems: 4.1%

 

  1. People’s attitude towards women’s clothing:

– Must be free: 55.1%

– Government should control: 36.8%

– Don’t know: 7.7%

 

  1. Attitude towards the activities of the morality police patrol:

– Should not exist at all: 50.8%

– Morality police patrol should improve their approach: 41.6%

– Morality police should continue with the same procedure: 5.7%

Note: Negative attitudes towards the guidance patrol are more prevalent in provincial capitals and among families with incomes above 4 million tomans.

 

  1. Cause of Mahsa Amini’s death (as per people’s views):

– Killed by beating: 30.9%

– Died from stress and fear: 25.3%

– Died due to underlying conditions: 16.4%

– Don’t know: 27%

Note: There is a significant difference in the negative attitude towards the cause of Mahsa Amini’s death among different age groups: 40.4% of the age group between 15 to 29 years old believe that Mahsa Amini was killed due to a beating, while only 28.5% of individuals between the ages of 30 to 49 hold this belief.

 

  1. Sources for following protests-related news:

– IRIB: 25%

– Social networks: 24.6%

– Satellite: 16.4%

– Friends and acquaintances: 11.1%

– News sites: 6.4%

– I don’t follow at all: 14.8%

Note: Variations exist in news consumption methods based on age and education level. Views on the cause of Mahsa Amini’s death vary significantly across different age groups. 41% of the age group between 15 to 29 years old follow news about the recent protests more on social media networks. Additionally, 34.5% of university-educated individuals follow news about the protests on social media.

 

  1. People’s attitude towards [state] radio and television’s authenticity in covering the news of the recent protests:

– Did not perform well at all: 42.2%

– Reflect the facts to a low extent: 26.7%

– Average: 8%

– Has been successful: 13.7%

 

  1. People’s perception of the impact of protests:

– In the current situation, we will not get our rights unless we protest: 62.1% agree

– Protests will not lead to change: 55.4% agree

– Protests only cause insecurity: 54.5% agree

 

  1. Sympathy with the protests:

– Yes, I lend my support: 50.3%

– No, I do not support them: 41.1%

– I don’t know: 8.5%

 

  1. Evaluation of people’s anger towards the state:

– I am angry with the state: 50.4% said they are angry or very angry

– I want to yell at officials: 47.2% said they would very much like to do this

– If I come across an official, I will hit him: 73.8% disagree

 

  1. Desire to participate in rallies to support the state:

– I don’t participate at all or have a low probability: 69.8%

– I participate a lot: 21.4%

– To some extent: 5.9%

Summary: The important point of this survey is that, at the peak of the protests, people’s main concern still remains economic problems. On the other hand, the most significant factor affecting protest behavior is anger towards the state, which has about nine times greater impact than the use of social media networks.