Iran is a complex country placed right in the middle of a highly complex world. It is surrounded by a number of states openly hostile to it. Tehran reacted to the sanctions imposed on it by the West and the United Nations by supporting a number of militias, including the Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Mehdi Army in Iraq. It has also been a strong supporter of the beleaguered regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. While the monarchies of the Gulf, in particular Saudi Arabia, were openly suspicious of Iran’s intentions in the region, they found themselves on the same side as Tehran in dealing with the rise of the extremist Islamic Caliphate, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS).