Iran 2020 Report Card – Peter Zeihan (Disunited Nations)

Iran 2020 Report Card – Peter Zeihan (Disunited Nations)

#Peter Zeihan #Zeihan2020 #Peter Zeihan Iran
Iran 2020 Report Card – Peter Zeihan (Disunited Nations)
The Iranians have won the Middle East in large part because of American security commitments
there. Now with the Americans leaving, it would seem the Iranians just have some mopping up to
do before consolidating themselves as the regional superpower. That is, unless the Saudi’s have
something to say about it…
Borders — Iran is an arid, mountainous country surrounded by deserts and even more mountains.
Invading Iran is therefore damnably difficult, but the same things that protect Iran also tend to stymie
expansion. Q: What makes Iran’s geography so defensible, while also making it difficult for the
country to expand its boarders’ outwards?
Resources — Iran’s mountains hold mining potential, but for over a century it’s been all about an
overdependence on oil, oil, oil. Q: What opportunities are afforded to Iran on account of its abundant
oil reserves? Q: How much of the value chain from the earliest stages of production to delivery
does Iran control, and how does that impact its ability to capitalize on its oil bounty? Q: What are
Iran’s other resource needs and how will it try and source them? Q: Does the country have the
capacity to feed its citizenry from within its own agricultural production?
Demography — Iran’s population is the largest in the Persian Gulf region, but a crash in birthrates
after the Revolution makes Iranians much older than their peer Gulf Arab populations. Q: What
impact will Iran’s demographics have on its quest to dominate the region as a hegemon?
Military Might — Iran has not one but two armies. Both are fiercely loyal to the country’s ruling
elite, outfitted with primarily reworked Soviet materiel, and are as likely to fire on domestic agitators
as external armies. Q: How strong is Iran’s military relative to other regional players, including
Turkey? Q: How effective can Iran be in protecting its critical infrastructure and immediate
Economy — Oil exports form the country’s export basis, distantly followed by low-grade industrial
and agricultural products such as cheap steel, dates, pistachios, and carpets. All are subject to one
of the strongest sanctions’ regimes in history. The economy is struggling.


  1. I'm wondering about the statement about the post-'79 baby bust. The plot I linked below seems to show that 25-29-year-olds are Iran's oldest age category that's smaller than the one before, which suggest the bust began around 1990, not 1980. Seems like blaming the baby bust on the Iran-Iraq war of 1979-1988 would make more sense. That war wiped out a hell of a lot of Iranian teens.


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