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North Korea tops Iran as most disliked nation

For the first time since 2004 the hermit nation of North Korea sits alone as the most disliked nation among Americans based on an annual Gallup poll

WASHINGTON: North Korea has achieved an unenviable feat among Americans -- it has surpassed Iran as the most disliked nation.

For the first time since 2004, the hermit nation sits alone at rock bottom with only 11 per cent of Americans having a favourable opinion of North Korea in an annual Gallup poll.

Iran was not much higher at 12 per cent, although the figure was up three points -- within the survey's margin of error -- from a year earlier. 

The survey came after a year in which North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-Un defiantly tested a third nuclear weapon, threatened to attack the United States and executed his uncle and onetime mentor.

The poll of 1,023 Americans was taken February 6-9, days before a landmark UN inquiry accused the totalitarian state of crimes against humanity.

Iran has had tense relations with the United States since the 1979 Islamic revolution, but both countries have taken small steps to improve ties since President Hassan Rouhani swept to power in June elections on a reformist platform.

In November Iran reached a breakthrough but tentative agreement with the United States and five other powers to address concerns over its nuclear program.

On the opposite pole, Canada remains  the most popular foreign country for Americans, with 93 per cent seeing the northern neighbour favourably.

The biggest drop was for Russia, whose favourability rating fell 10 points to 34 per cent with Russian President Vladimir Putin under growing US criticism on issues ranging from gay rights to Ukraine's political crisis.

In other changes, India's favourability rating went up four points to 72 per cent despite a showdown with the United States over a diplomat's arrest in New York.

Mexico posted the steepest rise, jumping 11 points to 58 per cent.

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