Iran is not North Korea. It is not controlled by one family that demand a cult like devotion. Whenever given a choice between an extremist and a moderate, the Iranian people have chosen the moderate. Ahmadinejad was an aberration who was elected because of his success as Mayor of Tehran. He had to steal his reelection. The first popularly President elected after the Islamic Revolution wasn’t a religious fanatic but a French trained economist, Abollhasan Banisadr.Iran currently has very large population between the age of 20-30. Many of them are well educated but the current Iranian economy cannot support them. Iran desperately wants to become part of the international community but they cannot engage in a complete surrender to Western demands. They have to save face.The Iranians have had a nuclear program since 1950s. The nuclear program had started under the Shah, which included a clandestine weapons program even though Iran had signed a non-proliferation in 1968.-http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/8b/Shah_of_Iran_building_two_nuclear_plants.jpg/428px-Shah_of_Iran_building_two_nuclear_plants.jpg-Jane’s Defense Weekly reported in April 1984 that West German intelligence believed that Iran could have nuclear weapons within 2 years; 29 years later, it still doesn’t have them.Ayatollah Khomeini stopped the weapons program because he considered nuclear weapons against Islamic teaching.He restarted the weapons program as the Iraq-Iran war dragged on.This is the unique nature of nuclear weapons; India has the bomb because China has the bomb; Pakistan has the bomb because India has it. Well, Iran had a weapons program because they believed Iraq may get the bomb. People make comparisons to 1938 Munich. Only problem is, Iran is nowhere near the military power Germany was. It’s Air Force still uses planes from the 1960s and 1970s and does not have access to parts to maintain them. It has a navy whose abilities are limited to the Persian gulf. The US has a larger naval presence in the Persian Gulf with the 5th fleet headquartered at Bahrain. Iran has never been a threat to Israel. There are 2 large countries – Iraq and Jordan – between Iran and Israel. Any attack on Israel can lead to a fallout on its Arab neighbors.
The majority of the Iranian population was born after the Revolution. The younger generation hates the regime and the system. Ayatollah Khomeini’s 2 grandsons are Muslim clerics who have spoken out against the regime that their grandfather founded and asked for greater democracy. One has traveled to the west and met with the Shah’s son, seeking reconciliation. Iran’s number one goal is creating enough jobs for a large work age population.Iran and it’s current leaders are not going to engage in behavior that will lead to it’s own self-destruction.