Friday, April 28, 2006
A Bush supporter ... in Iran?
The rhetoric between Iranian and American officials is rising, and rising fast. So today, we decided to head into the streets of Tehran, Iran's capital city, to see what ordinary Iranians think of America.

We started our day in a shopping area in the northern part of Tehran, which is where more affluent and more liberal Iranians reside.

One man, off-camera, told us he was a fan of President Bush because he had gotten rid of Saddam Hussein. Iran and Iraq fought a bloody 8-year war in the early 1980s. But when we turned the camera on, he didn't want to touch that subject. It's a glimpse at some of the difficulties in getting people to truly open up to a Western television crew.

We also met a few Iranian women who were willing to talk. They said they separate the American people from the American government and had great things to say about American society. One even said she models herself after what she considers the best parts of being American -- working hard and working well with others.

From northern Tehran, we traveled south, toward the more conservative part of the city, where we interviewed people at Tehran's biggest market.

People there said they aren't very aware of Americans, because they get very little information from the local media. One shop-owner warned us that as long as the American government continues to pressure Iran, Iranians will say, "Death to America." But not to the American people, he added.

Many of the Iranians we spoke to have split views of America. They say great things about the American people, but reserve harsh words for the American government.

These harsh words manifest themselves in some rather public ways. Off a main highway in Iran, there stands a government-sanctioned mural that reads "Down with America" on a U.S. flag dotted with skulls and bombs. And just days ago, a few hours outside the capital, there were celebrations marking the 26th anniversary of a botched U.S. rescue attempt to save Americans being held hostage in Iran.

The nuclear dispute is clearly heating up between Iran and the United States. But from the handful of Iranians we spoke to, they are hoping the two peoples can connect even if their governments cannot.
Posted By Aneesh Raman, CNN Correspondent: 2:59 PM ET
It is nice to hear that most Iranians like the American people-I would bet that most Americans have no issue what so ever with the Iranian people.

Problem here is that the radical government with a track record of supporting and financing terrorist organizations and also holding civilians hostage is the one that will have it's finger on a bomb. Granted, it may not be fair that the US has Nuclear weapons and Iran does not, not fair that Isreal, France, Britain, Russia, China, etc all have them and Iran doesn't. Thing is, none of these countries have a track record of paying and supporting people who strap bombs to themselves and walk into a mall fall of INNOCENT civilians and blow themselves up. It's one thing to accidentally kill civilians in a war zone-another to literally blow them up in a non war zone when they are doing absoultely nothing other than shopping, praying or studying.
Do we want someone saying "Isreal must cease to exist!" with a device that can make that so? Does Isreal or anyone for that matter say "Iran must cease to exist!"? Haven't heard that.
Is this the type of governement you want with a weapon that could kill millions in one swoop?
So if the Iranians like Americans and other communities so much, might we suggest they advise their leadership of that?
Posted By Anonymous Mike, New York : 3:28 PM ET
It's awful that more of these people aren't getting their feelings across to a larger audience. Most of the people I know are in that mindset of thinking that everyone over in Iran hates us, and that they're all out to kill us when really, I think, most everyone wants peace and to be friendly with the other countries of the world.
Posted By Anonymous Molly, Coleville, CA : 3:29 PM ET
Speaking as an Iranian-American, I can tell you that Iranians and Americans are very similar to eachother. Most Iranians are socially conservative, religious, hard-working, and enterprising. Sound familiar? When I went to visit, I didn't hear any negative sentiments towards American people. The problem they have lies with the government. They don't understand how the U.S. has the right to tell the Iranian government/people what's in their interests or not and get upset when a stronger nation tells them what to do. They are sensitive to these things due their history of not controlling their own destiny in the past with England, Russia, and America. Remember, we overthrew two popular leaders twice in the last century and took away their best chance for democracy 50 years when they had the audacity to say that Iranian oil belongs to Iranians.
Posted By Anonymous Mazda, LA, CA : 3:34 PM ET
It's great there are positive feelings in Iran toward the US, but that can change very quickly if the bombs start to fall. That is why the only option to solve this conflict should be a diplomatic one. We've all but lost the hearts and minds in Iraq, let's not do it in Iran too.

PS: Aneesh stay safe if/when you go back to Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 3:46 PM ET
It's the governments of the world that mess it up for people like them and us. Makes you wonder.............
Posted By Anonymous "Bo" Markham, TX : 3:50 PM ET
It's strange that we are talking about Iran's "violations" here when in fact, in the current conflict, the U.S. government has violated the NPT. In return for the promise of non-nuclear nations not to develop nuclear weapons, the five nuclear nations promised to share nuclear knowledge and to NEVER threaten non-nuclear nations with nukes. Well, Iran has reached out to the U.S. on several occasions in the past 2 years for nuclear cooperation. U.S. has ignored Iran. That's one violation. Just recently, the Bush administration threatened Iran with "tactical" nukes. That's another violation. Under the NPT , which Iran has signed, but Israel, India and Pakistan have not, the Islamic Republic has the right to develop nuclear technology. The only thing it cannot do is develop nuclear WEAPONS. It has not.
Despite their dislike for the theocracy, most Iranians are aware of the above facts and are understandably angered by this "double-standard."
Let us not forget that Israel has ignored over 35 UN resolutions since 1967. Where is the global response to that?
We also need to be realistic. Iran's enrichment capacity is limited to 168 centrifuges while it needs 50,000 such devices to enrich weapons grade uranium.

It is true that most Iranians do not only like Americans, but are almost obsessed with American culture. However, this infatuation does not mean that they will stand by and watch their country suffer under sanctions or war.
Posted By Anonymous Reza, New York, NY : 4:19 PM ET
If it is the clear message that it is government that is to blame for international conflict then I ask who is the government if not elected by it's people it is at least tolerated by it's people. In which case we as Americans can not hide behind the government. At least here, if we truly feel that way, then I say we should change it. May be that would be a lesson where nations with opressive governments learn that holding still is the wrong approach.
Posted By Anonymous Klaus, Racine WI : 4:20 PM ET
are you people stupid? iran has constantly had some of the highest approvals of bush and america of any middle east country. how this can be surprising to you is beyond my comprehension. back to school for you.
Posted By Anonymous pete trojano charlestown ma. : 4:23 PM ET
I find it interesting to hear these opinions--good or bad. I understand the reluctance of many people to speak out based on the 'conditioning' of living under hussein, but still--I wish this "examining" of public opinion was done and publicized more often.
Posted By Anonymous Dave S. Tinley Park, IL : 4:51 PM ET
To the Iranian women who spoke positively about American culture: I am NOT proud to be an American. We are a nation and culture that glorifies the almighty dollar/$$, promote selfishness and self-interest above all else, and are sliding fastly and surely into 3rd-world status, since we have lost our DISCIPLINE as a society. GREED is our national anthem and creed! It's all about ME, ME, ME here in the U.S. We are a shallow, hollow culture and society, and that's why we are slowly sliding into oblivion. But, what's causing it is the flood of immigrants, both legal and illegal, that are screaming to get here so they, too, can enjoy the world's capital of self-indulgence, excess, and gluttony: the U.S.A. Our national "obesity epidemic" is disgusting! "Break the plate", America!! We have a long history of exporting our "western, consumer (greed/$$) based culture" to other countries and squashing their unique culture and ways, bringing unhappiness and woe, and then we call it "progress." We are a sick culture, and should be admired by NONE. Shame on us here in the USA. Lastly, our worship of the "almighty DIVERSITY" has also caused many of our governmental problems: diversity=lack of consensus, and that's why our government is so ineffective and cannot "get things done." Noone can agree on anything, because we have too much diversity and competing agendas and goals.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Sacramento, CA : 4:52 PM ET
Posted By Reza, New York, NY : 4:19 PM

For writing a lot, you did not have much to say other than what is on the news daily. How do you know what they have? Why would the US assist a Country that is known for supporting terrorists? Also, we did not threaten anyone with a "tactical" nuke. It was stated as an option that will not be taken off the table....

I am not saying that the US is or will handle everything perfect, but before you go and criticize US you should think a little more and not fire off from the top of your head.
Posted By Anonymous Travis, Anaheim, CA. : 5:02 PM ET

It is good to hear that Iranian people know that the American people don't always agree with our government's decisions and that we feel the same about the regular people in Iran. You do good work Aneesh. Please stay safe!
Our prayers are with you.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa V., Des Plaines, IL : 5:03 PM ET
Well how can you expect another country to like our goverment when we(americans) don't like our goverment.
Posted By Anonymous Jamie, Spartanburg, SC : 5:10 PM ET
It is very refreshing to note that people to people, the Iranians can relate to us and that their main objection is with our Gov't.

I had the opportunity to have worked
in the middle east for over 10 years, principally in Saudi Arabia and I can tell you from first hand interface with some Saudis I know, that they have the same good opinions about us as a people but not with us as a Gov't..nonetheless the Iranian govt. supports terror groups and the Saudis do the same..

Is there anything wrong with our Govt
and theirs that we cannot bring our people together?
Posted By Anonymous Ben Torres Las Vegas NV : 5:22 PM ET
Speakin as an ex soldier who fought during the gulf war,It makes me sick to see so many americans attack our gov.With out our so called currupt gov. you people bellyaching about them would not be possible . So mark in sac. when you lay your head down tonight remember with out that corrupt gov. as you call it and the me me me attitude that we americans have you could be one of the many lives saddam took for no reason other than not agreeing with his opinions..
I don't always agree with the ways and means of our government either but I'll be damned if i will talk badly about a government or a country that allows us the freedom to talk about or opinions with out the need to worry about any reprocussions...
and I say "GOD BLESS AMERICA" because I hope he does!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Chad ,Cypress,Ca : 5:46 PM ET
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Thats why that individual said he liked Bush. The 8 year Iran-Iraq war was disgustingly pointless and lots of lives were lost because of leaderships playing games. An Iranian would say.."I hate Saddam, Bush hates Saddam...I like Bush!" At the end of the day theyre both enemies.
Posted By Anonymous Sinbad, Canada : 7:49 PM ET
But are the people with whom you spoke aware of the zealous comments their President has made. And there are many gems to quote - let's start with:

"God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism." - President Ahmadinejad
Posted By Anonymous Tina ,Chicago IL : 7:51 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.