If you haven't looked into the possibility to listen to individual lectures yet, you should do it soon before the course is finished. I will catch up, writing two new posts during next week. Lecture 7 is on Iraq and 8 is on Saudi Arabia.
As you know, I have written several posts on Iran during the years. I see the mullahs as the most dangerous religious leaders in the world at the moment.
State of War
After listening to lecture 6, The Roots of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I must admit that I see the progression from ancient Persia to today's Iran in a different light. I have been pretty optimistic that the old Shah supporters and believers of Zoroastrianism had some chance to get back in power, but after listening to the lecture, I have to conclude it is an internal mystical element that will hinder a positive outcome. You probably guessed it, the ancient history of Persia and the Shia religion. The Iranians are continuously looking for a figurehead to take the role of leader of the "nationhood". But to say it bluntly: The ancient Zor(r)o type will automatically lead to Shi(i)te... [Editor's comment: Not the best way of playing with words, but I had to... ;)]
One important incidence that I think has a crucial importance for today's messed up situation regarding the oil supply is the nationalization of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company by the Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1951.