/ the difference a letter makes /
Iason Athanasiadis is a freelance journalist and photographer residing in Tehran - probably one of the most knowledgable and perceptive western correspondents in the Middle East. In this article in the Asia Times, he describes Iranian preperations for a possible US/Israeli attack, the mentality of the Iranian military and their plans he notes:
...a fundamental transition that Iran's Revolutionary Guard (RG) is undergoing as it moves away from focusing on waging its defense of the country on the borders - unrealistic in view of the vast territory that requires securing and the gulf separating Iranian and US military capabilities - and toward drawing the enemy into the heartland and defeating it with asymmetrical tactics.
At the same time, the RG is moving away from a joint command with the ordinary army and taking a more prominent role in controlling Iran's often porous borders, even as it makes each of Iran's border provinces autonomous in the event of war. Iranian military planners know that the first step taken by an invading force would be to occupy oil-rich Khuzestan province, secure the sensitive Strait of Hormuz and cut off the Iranian military's oil supply, forcing it to depend on its limited stocks.
Foreign diplomats who monitor Iran's army make it clear that Iran's leadership has acknowledged it stands little chance of defeating the US Army with conventional military doctrine. The shift in focus to guerrilla warfare against an occupying army in the aftermath of a successful invasion mirrors developments in Iraq, where a triumphant US campaign has been followed by three years of slow hemorrhaging at the hands of insurgents...
Athanasiadis mentions in passing the fact that Iran is probably in possesion of these nasty little anti-ship missiles, state of the art and currently "unbeatable", which promise to make the Straits of Hormuz a rather dangerous playground - with all that this implies for the worlds energy supply (considering that 40% of it passes through these Straits daily).
Speaking of Athanasiadis and countries that start with Ira: he recently published in Greekworks a very interesting letter from Iraq, offering an unsanitized version of his experiences in the "most terrifying city on earth"... Well worth the read.