Today's Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about what the average Iranian-in-the-street thinks about war with Iraq. Unlike Iranian leaders, who manage to condemn both the US and Iraq in their pronouncements on the situtation, many Iranians, especially the younger generation, support US action to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
Some Iranians, particularly the young, say they would actually welcome a U.S. presence in Iraq because it would increase pressure on both their country's conservative Islamic regime and the fractured reformers who oppose it. The regime's efforts to portray the U.S. as the "Great Satan" have failed to sway young people, who are a clear majority of Iranians. About 70% of the country's 70 million people are younger than 30.
Young people in particular associate the U.S. with the opportunities and freedoms that Iran, with its sluggish economy and stern moral code, lacks. They believe that better relations with the U.S. would revitalize Iranian life and help the country shed its pariah status.
According to a poll conducted in September, 75% of Iranians support dialogue with the U.S., and some believe that a long-term U.S. military presence next door could accelerate the process of change in Iran.
Too bad these people don't actually run their country.