The world increasingly fears Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear bomb but believes the U.S. military in Iraq remains a greater danger to Middle East stability, a survey showed on Tuesday.
As Washington campaigns to highlight the threat it sees from Tehran, the good news for the United States in a Pew Research Center poll of 17,000 people in 15 countries is that publics, particularly in the West, are worrying more about Iran.
The bad news is people worldwide think the U.S. presence in Iraq is an even bigger threat and support in most countries for President George W. Bush's war on terrorism is either flat or falling.
And after some signs anti-Americanism had been abating, in part because of goodwill generated by U.S. aid for victims of a late-2004 tsunami in Asia, favorable opinions of the United States have since fallen back in most countries.
Widespread concern over U.S. detainee treatment in Iraq and places such as Guantanamo, is a key drag on America's overall image, according to the survey.
Bush himself received the lowest marks for international leadership compared with his counterparts in Britain, Germany, France and Russia, and confidence in him has slipped in most countries -- to as low as three percent in Turkey.
The survey of global attitudes by the respected research group was conducted from March 31 to May 14 in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Turkey, Nigeria, Japan, India, China and the United States.
With a margin of error ranging from two percent to six percent depending on the country, the poll made comparisons to similar surveys it had conducted in the last few years.
Among Washington's traditional allies, Germany is the only country where more people say Iran is a bigger danger than the United States in Iraq.
Otherwise, the survey made grim comparisons for the Bush administration, including that 56 percent of Spaniards, 45 percent of Russians and 31 percent of Indonesians believe the United States in Iraq is the greater threat.
The poll was published after the United States shifted tactics on Iran, offering late last month to join European-led negotiations over curbing its nuclear programs, which Iran says are for peaceful power generation.
With people worldwide overwhelmingly believing Iran is seeking to build an atomic bomb, fears over the Islamic republic have tripled in some Western countries. The Muslim world is less fearful of Iran but its concerns have also risen, representing, for example, a great danger to 19 percent of Jordanians, the poll showed.