ACI stands for Association des Chercheurs Iraniens, or in Persian, Anjuman-i Pazhuhishgaran-I Iran [Association of Iranian Researchers]. This organization has recently conducted an interesting poll on the Internet.
ACI invited Iranians to fill in a questionnaire and 4,000 valid responses were received, of which half were from Iranians living in Iran. ACI performed a preliminary analysis of this data, which was posted some time ago in Persian. However, ACI has now presented the results of a more detailed analysis of 20-29 year-olds living in Iran (this group forms the largest centile in Iran’s population). Of course this is a highly self-selected group and not representative of the whole of Iran’s population, but it is probably representative of what young urban people are thinking.
Although state-published figures declare 99.34% of Iranians as Moslems, almost 40% of this age group declared itself in this survey as without any religious convictions. Furthermore, almost 22% declared that they have turned against religion.
In response to the question: “My religion is…”, 30% of men and 15% of women had said “no religion”, 3% of men and 3.4% of women had put Baha’i and it was the largest group after Islam (which had 62% of men and 77% of women).
However, in response to the section “My religious viewpoint/conviction”, if one adds together those that ticked the box “secular” and those that ticked “I have no religious conviction”, it adds up to 78% of men and 70% of women. Only 15% of men and 22% of women ticked “I practice my religion”. Only 6% which remained constant throughout the survey declared that their religious beliefs had grown stronger (their other answers were in support of the Islamic Republic).
Interestingly, in view of all of the anti-Baha’i material that has been broadcast on the Iranian media, when asked what media sources they trusted, only 10% said they trusted the Islamic Republic’s sources, while the majority trusted Voice of America and BBC.
In response to the question “How do you think the Islamic Republic will evolve?” only 8% of men and 0% of women thought it would be for the better – the rest ticked either “changing for the worse” or “towards confusion and chaos”. When asked “How do you view the Islamic Republic?”, 84% of men and 80% of women ticked the “negatively” or “very negatively” boxes.
With regard to the future, how they viewed the future, 79% of men and 86% of women ticked either “with complete hopelessness” or “with relative hopelessness”.
When asked “Are you thinking of leaving Iran?”, 62% of men and 56% of women ticked the box, “extremely” or “very much”. And another 20% of each ticked “a little”.
Interesting enough, in answer to the question “I agree with the mixing of politics and religion” (in other words the vilayet-i faqih of Khomeini, known as the rule of jurists), only 5.5% of men and 4.4% of women said they agreed.
In summary these results would seem to indicate that Iranians in this age group are rapidly losing their religion and are much less religious than Americans and about on a par with Europeans; that the government is widely disliked and distrusted; that most Iranians view the future very negatively and would like to leave the country.
You can read the full results in a downloadable PDF: http://www.aciiran.com/English%20Ex%20Sum.pdf
It should be noted that last year ACI issued a statement in defense of the Baha’is in Iran.