It's thought that when Iran is weak, they will become more recalcitrant. The leaders plan on small points to expect from them first, before getting to the bigger issues.
Iran is the only clerically ruled country in the world but also is a presidential republic. It's definitely a theocracy that many Muslims are not deeply happy about. A country with a population of 70,495,782 of which 98% are Shi'a Muslims. They have a military power made up of 545,000. Yet only 53% of Iranians are actually Persians. (Persia was the original name-therefore they have many immigrants). Many Jews used to live in Persia since the days of Queen Esther "Hadassah". 50,000 Jews left for Israel. My professor in Israel had come from Iran and had seen his friends hung for small infractions and for being Jewish. I have a relative who escaped at age 16 on a camel and saw several of his friends shot in the act.
Resource: http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=199475 12/15/2010