Who? What Iranians Think Of The Republican Nominees

(CNN) – The Republican 2016 hopefuls may have spent most of Wednesday night’s CNN debate savaging each other on everything from marijuana and immigration to abortion and taxes, but they also devoted plenty of time to their favorite boogeyman abroad: Iran.

imageFrom frontrunner Donald Trump to underdog Ted Cruz, candidate after candidate lined up to burnish their foreign policy credentials by slamming the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

We’ve heard what the Republicans have to say about Iran — but what do Iranians thinks of the candidates?

We stopped people in the streets of Tehran today and asked them if they could recognize photos of four of the most prominent candidates — and then asked them to respond to their stances on Iran.

Iranians follow international politics closely, and all of them recognized Trump. Most recognized Jeb Bush, but the same can’t be said for Carly Fiorina or Ben Carson.

Here’s a selection of what they told us.

Donald Trump: The one with “the hairstyle”


Who he is: A billionaire real estate mogul and former star of TV’s “The Apprentice.”

Who Iranians think he is:

“I don’t like this picture … he was a television performer. I know the name Donald Trump, I saw some program of him and I don’t like the program.”
“I know him and I don’t like him because he doesn’t care about the poor people.”
“Is he the one who’s in real estate? I remember something like that, so I doubt that he’s good in politics.”
What he said about Iran on Wednesday: “The agreement was terrible. It was incompetent. I’ve never seen anything like it. One of the worst contracts of any kind I’ve ever seen … We’re talking about Iran. They are bad actors, bad things are going to happen.”

What Iranians think:

“I think he’s completely wrong. This deal is good for both countries, Iran and the U.S., and for the whole world.
“I think he’s not right about the agreement.”
Jeb Bush: Brother, son, governor


Who he is: Son of George H.W. Bush, brother of George W. Bush, former governor of Florida.

Who Iranians think he is:

“Oh my god! His father and his brother did a big mess.”
“I can’t recall … is he Bush’s brother?”
“He looks like Bush, the youngest Bush. I don’t know the names, I’m not very interested in these political games.”
What he said about Iran on Wednesday: “It’s not a strategy to tear up an agreement. A strategy would be how do we confront Iran? And, the first thing that we need to do is to establish our commitment to Israel … and make sure that they have the most sophisticated weapons to send a signal to Iran that we have Israel’s back.”

What Iranians think:

“His policies are a bit more moderate than Trump, but maybe it depends on his ideas … he says he’s not against the agreement directly but he would behave in some other way to protect Israel. It’s better than Trump.”

Carly Fiorina: Rings a bell somewhere …


Who she is: The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

Who Iranians think she is:

“Hillary? No, I don’t know.”
“She’s the former Hewlett-Packard manager … Fio something … I forget her name.”
“Nancy Pelosi?”
What she said about Iran on Wednesday: “On day one in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls: the first to my good friend Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him we will stand with the state of Israel. The second, to the Supreme Leader, to tell him that unless and until he opens every military and every nuclear facility to real anytime, anywhere inspections by our people … we will make it as difficult as possible [for Iran to] move money around the global financial system.”

What Iranians think:

“I think the agreement is okay. There’s no [need] to add something more against Iran. Iran has done everything — we are peaceful people, the government is peaceful, and we are with this agreement. Everything else is just talk.”
“She’s also deeply mistaken … she’s wrong, the same as Trump.”
Ben Carson: Give me a minute, I’ve got this … nope.


Who he is: A renowned neurosurgeon.

Who Iranians think he is:

“No idea.”
“I’ve hard his name but haven’t seen his picture … he’s second in the polls.”
What he said about Iran on Wednesday: Nothing, but in July he called the nuclear deal a “dose of false hope” and “a recipe for disaster and the first fateful step toward a frenzied nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”

What Iranians think:

“They’re just talking — but I think they can’t behave as they like [if they win the presidency].”


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