For some 40 years the Islamic Republic has resisted widespread condemnation, sanctions, and sustained attacks by Iraq in an eight-year war. Many policy-makers today share a weary wish that Iran would somehow just disappear as a problem. But with Iran's continuing commitment to a nuclear programme and its reputation as a trouble-maker in Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon and elsewhere, this is unlikely any time soon. An unending stream of assertions about the revolution's finally running down continue to be defied by events, and Iran's institutions are still formidable.
This is the definitive history of this subject, from one of the world's principal experts.