If Assad falls and a new government is formed by Sunni rebel forces, Iran loses a keystone in its regional power structure.
After the U.S., China and other world powers imposed stiffer sanctions on Iran in 2009, Li “went underground.”
In response, Iran has carried out mass arrests at home—and backed a series of offensives against ISIS abroad.
from Persian Iran, from Middle Persian Ērān "(land) of the Iranians," genitive plural of ēr- "an Iranian," from Old Iranian *arya- (Old Persian ariya-, Avestan airya-) "Iranian", from Indo-Iranian *arya- or *ārya- (see Aryan), a self-designation, perhaps meaning "compatriot." In 1935 the government of Reza Shah Pahlavi requested governments with which it had diplomatic relations to call his country Iran, after the indigenous name, rather than the Greek-derived Persia.
Republic in the Middle East, bordered by Armenia, the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan to the north; Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east; the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to the south; and Iraq and Turkey to the west. Its capital and largest city is Teheran.
Note: Core of the ancient Persian Empire, Iran was known as Persia until 1935.
Note: The United States supported the regime of the shah (king) Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who was forced by popular opposition to leave the country in 1979.
Note: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ruled from 1979 until his death in 1989, imposing strict Islamic law.
Note: In 1979, Iranian militants attacked the U.S. embassy and seized hostages, including sixty-two Americans, who were held until 1981.
Note: Iraq unsuccessfully invaded Iran in 1980.
Note: The Iranian government was widely believed to have controlled the taking of U. S. hostages in Lebanon. (See Iran-Contra affair.)
Note: The 1990s saw some moderating elements emerge to challenge the conservative heirs to Khomeini.