In the outpouring of anger by thousands of Iranian protesters, people have died and the country's foreign policy and top leaders have been denounced. But the driving factor is the economy above all, say analysts.
The attacks on two potent symbols, parliament and a shrine to Ayatollah Khomeini, were shocking for Iranians. One result, says a Tehran analyst, will be to quiet the internal debate over the value of battling ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The Tanf garrison used by the US coalition to train militias to fight ISIS sits on a highway Iran would like to control for its strategic advantage. Forces are gathering and shots have been fired as fundamental interests clash.
Locked in a tight race, incumbent President Rouhani invokes his challenger's role in political executions. The supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has called for high voter turnout Friday, but that carries risks.
The childless Sultan Qaboos, who used oil wealth to build the strategically placed nation into an important Gulf Arab player, has put in place a secretive succession process in an attempt to ensure stability, if only for the short term.
The Tomahawk cruise missiles fired at a Syrian air base were a clear message to Assad from President Trump that the use of chemical weapons would not be tolerated. They did not signal support for regime change.
Arab leaders are gathered in Jordan, but the region's main movers and shakers – Iran, Russia, and Turkey – are absent, a telling sign that the Arab League's influence over events and its own citizens has waned.
Having spent heavily to preserve its geopolitical link to Hezbollah, Iran appears to be settling in for a long presence in Syria. That has caught the attention of the US and Israel, which fears a widening of its Southern Lebanon front to the Golan Heights.
Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed Tuesday to sketch the outlines of a wider political settlement to Syria's civil war, which would be taken to larger talks in Geneva that include the US, the EU, and other major players.
Former Iranian President Rafsanjani died Sunday. A power-broker of the 1979 revolution, he supported contacts with the US and helped orchestrate the 2013 victory of President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate.
The war in Syria is far from over, and the anti-Assad rebels have vowed to fight on. Many are congregated in Idlib province. But before the Syrian president elects to go after them, he has other options to consider.
Assad's key allies say the victory over rebels in Syria's second city advances their standing globally and in the region. But with no quick end to the conflict, they are likely to push for a political solution, analysts say.
Almost a year ago, a 20-year-old Iranian's quest for martyrdom was realized in Syria, in battle with the so-called Islamic State. Today Iran trumpets his sacrifice as proof of passing the ideological torch to a new generation.