Everyone claims to not want a Middle East conflagration. Reading Nick Land's Islamic Vortex series, the Middle East is already in a firestorm and will not stop anytime soon. The Iranians are not Arabs, they align with the minority Shias in the Middle East, and they desperately want nukes. If this were about nuclear energy, the Iranians could build thorium reactors with outside help. They are the wild card that everyone is scared of, and it has even pushed the Saudis into supporting the idea of an Israeli or Israeli-US airstrike on the Iranians. The Iranians get the carrot, and they get the stick. They dance up to negotiations, playing nice and holding out that offer that they might bend to the West, but they never do. All the while, they keep working on enriching uranium. Add in this mess in Syria and even throw in Saudi-Qatari influence and money jostling in Egypt, and Iran scores more breaks. Each month of madness in Syria is a month of breathing room. Each time Russia and/or China pledges support or negatively refers to US intervention, the Iranians get another chit that they will use later on those same two actors. It's a wonderful play, and we've seen it before; ask the Germans.
The Germans in the mid '30s were the wild card in Europe. No one wanted another war. They gambled with the remilitarization of the Rhineland in '36. The war weary Western leaders did nothing. The Germans would then play nice for a while, while pouncing on the next weak link. In reality, they followed Hitler's game plan in Mein Kampf, but it sounds like the interwar version of Dreams of My Father. Everyone said they read it but no one did. The Germans even wrestled the Sudentenland, leading to more bits of Czechoslovakia which would have been very tough to overrun considering the Czech defense's and industry. Similar to Iran-Syria, the Germans had Franco in Spain to support and use against ideological enemies. At each turn, the Germans played on fears of confrontation and flashed smiles, pleasing Western elites long enough to build up their forces and expand their control. The Nazis ultimately lost, but they played the game well enough to build their armed forces up and set the game board in a manner that they chose.
There are many difference between 2000s Iran and 1930s Germany, and oil is a gigantic one. The entire time there is tension in the Middle East, the price of oil stays elevated. The Iranians are suffering pretty dreadful inflation, but at least they have +$100 oil to bank on. Cato writes if times get tough enough, Iran can block the Straits of Hormuz to wreck with bigger economies and solve things through conflict. The Straits closure is their post-airstrike move. The ayatollahs probably looked around in 2003 when Saddam was caught hiding in a hole and took stock of Iraq vs. North Korea. North Korea's Kim had nukes; Saddam didn't. They have tied the nuke program to national pride, so an attack on it is an attack on Iranian pride. They probably felt the decision to go for nukes was smart after watching Qadaffi hand over his nukes to make peace, and several years later be overthrown by