How Syrian regime change could diminish Tehran's power
bbc / James Reynolds

When the Arab Spring began in early 2011, Iran's government declared that it was happy with what it was seeing.

The people of the Middle East, it announced, were following the example set by Iran in 1979 when Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah.

But that happiness has given way to anxiety as Iran sees its only reliable ally in the region struggle to stay in power.

Iran and Syria are unlikely partners. Iran is a theocracy, Syria is a secular state. One country is Persian, the other Arab.

But after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the two countries found that they had considerable mutual interests.

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