Iran rethinks its role as a regional troublemaker
- The Islamic Republic is preoccupied with its transition to a new generation of leaders
ON THE FACE of it, the war in Gaza has been good for Iran’s clerical regime. First, its ally, Hamas, proved itself horrifyingly more effective than most observers had assumed in its attack on Israel on October 7th. Since then the other members of the “axis of resistance" have demonstrated Iran’s reach, striking Israeli and American targets from Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. The Houthis, Iran’s proxies in Yemen, have attacked oil tankers in the Red Sea and fired missiles with a range of 800km, allowing Iran to threaten trade through the Suez canal, much as it already dominates passage to the Persian Gulf. “They’re showing the world needs Iran if it wants to keep the Middle East stable," says a former UN diplomat in Tehran. In Washington, DC Republican politicians present the regional menace posed by Iran as proof of President Joe Biden’s geopolitical incompetence.