Iran has been smart militarily, it hardly commits its own forces in great numbers to anything preferring to use proxy forces. This is in part because it’s learned from Stalinist and American experiences in war and in part out of necessity because Iran is nearly impossible to invade it is very difficult for it to invade other nations without a much larger navy and air force. With the lifting of sanctions, Iran can expect a windfall of billions of dollars and the Iranian public expects and needs a monetary bump but will they get a non-nuclear dividend? One of the joys of having a theocracy is that it makes the country free to be corrupt, the conservative hardliners will certainly have outstretched hands to get paid to go along with a nuclear deal, the Iranian military will certainly want to get paid to purchase all sorts of goodies like attack helicopters and Russian weaponry and also to be the man in the middle for many of the foreign investment opportunities that will come Iran’s way. Who’s left out? Oh yeah, the “liberals” who agreed to the deal, they too will want to get paid as long as everyone else is. So will the people get paid? Maybe but likely they will benefit from increased jobs and cheaper imports – maybe.
Iran needs its poor and certainly won’t want any unwashed hands underneath the cash spigot that is about to open up. The poor are important, the poor will support the “Supreme Leader,” the poor with few options will take on military careers and the poor will work the factories that make cheap exports possible. It is important for Iran to maintain the poverty of the poor because the poor do not make “Happy” videos, the poor do not violate dress codes and the poor do not threaten the regime over voting irregularities like the middle class does. Even if the regime tries to sell a rising middle class to young people on the success of the regime and convince them it is patriotic to support a rich bearded man’s tyranny people will begin to demand to wear lipstick and if there is lipstick there will above the ankle dresses and perhaps tight fitting t-shirts! There are also the minorities, how long can the Baha’i, Assyrians and the Kurds tolerate being left out of the windfall even if the windfall to the public is secondary?
If the Middle East can find the unity to begin frustrating Iran’s moves in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen the military will demand more and more money and if the military gets more money and everyone else with power will want a taste and those with some power that don’t get a taste will extract from the people. That by itself could start a revolution and if the Kurds decide to go it alone and give up the joys of Persian theocracy then Iran will either have a civil war or an expedition into Syria and in either of those circumstances the Middle East has the ability to make Iran pay and pay and pay which will fuel Iranian patriotism but also corruption. If Iran is bled enough it will have to reform, implode or break up. Any of those possibilities are better than seeing an Iran with an arsenal of nuclear tipped Shahab missiles. If Middle Eastern nations unite enough to apply the right pressures against Iran for a decade, the fault lines of the regime will shake greatly and something will give. The one thing that won’t give is the Iranian government, they don’t help people so much as harvest them and that is to the advantage of the Israel, the Gulf States and those most affected by Iranian encroachments such as Lebanon and Yemen.