Great article by Ervand Abrahamian (“Who’s In Charge?”, London Review of Books, Nov 6, 2008), showing how false is the caricature of Iran as part of an “axis of evil”. I’ll try to post all interesting quotes: for now these two should suffice:
We need to take a reality check. Iran spends $6 billion a year on its armed forces; Turkey and Israel both spend more than $10 billion, Saudi Arabia $21 billion […] Meanwhile, the US pours more than $700 billion a year into its war machine. Before the 1979 revolution, Iran allocated as much as 18 per cent of GDP to the military; the figure is now under 3 per cent. During his recent tour of the region, Dick Cheney offered to sell $36 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikhdoms to counter the Iranian threat
Iran is not a totalitarian state: the Islamic constitution, drafted in the early days of the revolution, is a hybrid, combining democracy with theocracy, vox populi with vox dei, popular sovereignty with clerical authority, modern concepts of government with Ayatollah Khomeini’s notion of velayat-e faqih (jurist’s guardianship).
Yes, Iran does have many issues to solve. But bullying it around surely will not help solve any of those.