The attack and stabbing carried out on author Salman Rushdie has been condemned in the global media as an attack on freedom of speech, and rightly so. Except, predictably, in Iran, who whilst stopping short of lauding his attacker have suggested that Rushdie brought it on himself.
Once again Iran finds itself at odds with the rest of the world. If there were an international contest to win the prize for the most toxic pariah state, it would be right up the list, fighting for top spot with North Korea and Syria I suspect. Think Eurovision but with bampot dictators and unhinged militaries instead of songs and silly outfits. Iran would almost certainly get douze points.
What sometimes comes as a surprise to the casual observer is just how big the Islamic Republic of Iran, to give it its proper title, actually is. According to Wikipedia it comprises some 1,648,195 square kilometres, making it the second largest country in the Middle East behind Saudi Arabia. It also boasts a population of approximately 85 million, which makes it the seventeenth most populous country in the world.
It has some pretty large armed forces too, comprising the Iranian regular armed forces and the infamous Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The Iranian military supports various allies and groups in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, and after years of sanctions has developed its own indigenous weapons industry. Most recently it seems to have entered an agreement with Russia to supply drones (UAVs) for use in the Ukraine War.
Iran is the sworn enemy of the USA and its proxy, Israel, and has called for the destruction of the latter on numerous occasions. Most worrying for the US and its allies is the prospect of Iran developing its own nuclear arsenal, which it has been trying to do for decades. The Israelis will never allow this to happen, but I suspect that at some point the USA will have to take the Iranian regime on militarily if it wishes to secure peace in the region. This is hardly a prospect which the White House will approach with relish, no matter who might be President when it happens.