WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- Ahead of Friday's presidential election, most Iranians want their government to follow Sharia law but think it isn't happening, a study suggests.
The Pew Research Center said a survey of Iranians found a vast majority, 83 percent, think the nation should follow the Islamic legal code yet only 37 percent think the government is actually following it very closely. Another 45 percent think Iran's government follows Sharia somewhat closely.
Despite the majority seeking a political system that mirrors tenants of the Islamic faith, just 40 percent of Iranians interviewed thought religious figures should play a strong role in government.
Internationally, a majority of all but two of 39 countries surveyed hold unfavorable opinions of Iran. In Western Europe, about 8-in-10 people hold unfavorable views of the Islamic republic. In the United States, about 7-in-10 have an unfavorable opinion.
Only in the Islamic countries Pakistan and Indonesia did a majority of those surveyed express positive views of Iran.
Pew conducted 1,522 in-person interviews from Feb. 24 to May 3 with Iranians prior to publishing the study. For the international data, Pew interviewed 37,653 respondents in 39 countries from March 2 to May 1.