The radical Khomeinist theocracy - which has been at war with the US since 1979 - has been the single most destabilizing force in the Middle East since its inception. As Sec of Defense Gates said recently:
Everywhere you turn, it is the policy of Iran to foment instability and chaos, no matter the strategic value or cost in the blood of innocents - Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. . . . There can be little doubt that their destabilizing foreign policies are a threat to the interests of the United States, to the interests of every country in the Middle East, and to the interests of all countries within the range of the ballistic missiles Iran is developing.
More proof of that today from this report at Fox News:
A court in Azerbaijan on Monday convicted 15 people accused of ties with Iranian intelligence of crimes including treason and plotting to seize power, and handed down lengthy prison sentences.
The convictions, which a lawyer for the alleged ringleader said were unfounded, highlighted concern in the secular ex-Soviet republic over the influence of neighboring Iran.
The defendants were arrested in January on suspicion of crimes including plotting to forcefully seize power, treason, organizing a criminal group, possession of weapons and drugs, and counterfeiting. Authorities who announced the arrests did not mention Iran. The suspects had been on trial behind closed doors for two months.
The alleged leader, Said Dadashbeyli, and two others were sentenced to 14 years in prison, while the rest received sentences ranging from two years to 13, the Court for Grave Crimes said.
Dadashbeyli's lawyer, Elchin Gambarov, denied the defendants were connected with Iranian intelligence, saying they opposed Iranian influence.
He also denied media reports that portrayed the defendants as Islamic extremists, saying they adhered to "an Islam that is close to democratic values."
. . . The oil-rich Caspian Sea nation has increasingly been caught in a tug-of-war for influence between the secular, democratic West and Iran, its large southern neighbor. Rumblings of Shiite political Islam have been particularly noticeable in the more conservative regions that border Iran. . . .
Read the entire article. Somehow, all of this seems to have passed by the drafters of the NIE, who have suggested that if we only allow Iran to realize its aspirations for "regional influence," they may not build an atomic weapon. It would seem that Iran’s goals for regional influence are defined by their desire to export their Khomeinist revolution.