We should feel sorry for the Iranians. Their one-time cradle of civilisation has been usurped by mad fundamentalists who are reducing a great nation to impoverishment.
The country has often sought dubious allies. The First Aghan War, which saw the destruction of the British army, came about because Persia allied itself with the Russians in threatening to invade India.
Eldred Pottinger held them off at Herat – chronicled in my novel – but the British invasion of Afghanistan took place anyway as a means of protecting India’s North-West frontier from Russian and Persian (Iranian) invasion.
Thus are military disasters made. Tragically, the Persian ayatollahs don’t seem to have learned from the past any more than George W Bush and Tony Blair did.