A decade and a half after its Islamic revolution, Iran finds itself in a triple crisis: its economy is stagnant, and unable to meet the aspirations of a growing population; its government is paralysed, divided between competing factions, none of which have coherent answers to Iran`s problems; its foreign policy is in difficulties, above all because continued confrontation in its relations with the USA. Despite some attempts by President Rafsanjani to introduce new policies domestically and internationally, the country remains caught in all three dimension as popular resentment grows. There is, however, little prospect of a substantial change in the near future, barring a military challenge to the regime and there is no credible opposition.
On a number of fronts Iran is hoping to improve its international standing, in order to offset US pressure: in particular, Iran is trying to develop a strategy of countervailling alliances with a bloc of Eurasian states - Russia, China, India - and is continuing to hope that the success of Islamist revolutionaries elsewhere in the Middle East will weaken western influence.
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