“There is little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the war on terror in the Middle East. The United States, with Coalition support, has eliminated two of Iran’s regional rival governments ‘ the Taliban in Afghanistan in November 2001 and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in April 2003 ‘ but has failed to replace either with coherent and stable political structures. The outbreak of conflict on two fronts in June’July 2006 between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, and Israel and Hizbullah in Lebanon has added to the regional dimensions of this instability…
..Iranian regional foreign policy, which is often portrayed as mischievous and destabilizing, is in fact remarkably pragmatic on the whole and generally aims to avoid major upheaval or confrontation.
Iran’s core foreign policy concerns are:
‘ regional hegemony, particularly economic and cultural, within its sphere of influence;
‘ an extension of the sphere of influence;
‘ regional stability;
‘ to see Iraq unified but unable to pose a military threat;
‘ an obsession with the US but uncertainty how to deal with it.”