The government continues with its nuclear weapons program, secure in the knowledge that it has purchased sufficient diplomatic clout from China and Russia to ward off any serious economic sanctions from the rest of the world. While it will be years before Iran has a working nuke, the prospect of that has already given Iran's diplomacy an edge it has not had for decades. The Arab states across the Gulf are more willing to go along with whatever Iran wants. The Arabs know that if a military attack on Iran is carried out, the Shia minorities in all the Arab Gulf nations could be stirred to open rebellion. While the Arab governments could deal with that, they would rather not have to.
May 9, 2006: A bomb went off in a government building in southwest Iran. The area is largely Kurdish, and there has been increasing unrest against the Islamic conservative government, and the persecution of Kurds. Several government employees were wounded by the bomb. The government blames the U.S. for the increasing number of terror attacks, but with half the population of Iranian being non-Iranian, there is plenty of unrest ready to explode. The Iranian government has a hard time getting along with its minorities in the best of times, but the minority government of Islamic conservatives has made the relationship even more hostile.
May 5, 2006: Cheap heroin, opium and crystal meth from Afghanistan is becoming a major problem inside Iran. The number of young Iranian addicts is growing. The government admits to there being at least two million addicts, but observations by diplomats and journalists over the last few years indicates that number may well have doubled. Young Iranians are not willing to fight the Islamic conservatives that run the country, and many have turned to drugs as a way to cope. The government has several hundred thousand troops and police stationed on its eastern borders, where tons of drugs are seized from smugglers each week. Last year, over 300 tons were taken. But the profits are too high, and the Afghan smugglers keep coming. The rising price of oil has put more money into the hands of Iranians, and a lot of it has quickly moved into the pockets of drug dealers. While the Islamic conservatives in the government like the fact that many of their opponents are strung out, instead of demonstrating, there are strong religious prohibitions against drugs and other forms of fun. This sort of thing must be stopped.