Although Iranian Internet users are subject to lots of restrictions, this is not the case with telephones. So opinion polls are regularly conducted by firms outside the country. The only problem with this technique is that there is a bias against anti-government responses, because subjects are often fearful that the call is really from the secret police. Despite that, these surveys have found that 60 percent of the country want to reestablish diplomatic relations with the United States, although the majority do not trust the U.S. government (thanks to decades of anti U.S. government propaganda). The unrest over last Summers' elections are being driven by a minority of the population, as 82 percent Iranians believe the result of the election was fair, and that Ahmadinejad was the legitimate winner. Of those who said they voted, 55 percent voted for Ahmadinejad. A slight majority approve of the clergy having a veto over anything the parliament votes for. The majority of the population is not happy with economic conditions (growing inflation and unemployment).
Inflation, since the 1979 revolution, has sent the exchange rate of the Iranian rial from 70 to the dollar, to over 10,000. So the government has warned the population that new currency will be issued, that will revalue the currency and restore the exchange rate to either one or ten rials to the dollar. Inflation continues at about 20 percent (because the government prints more money to pay for more government employees, in an attempt to keep the unemployment rate down, and its supporters happy.)
The government asked the U.S. to exchange Iranians in American jails for the three American hikers, who, while visiting northern Iraq last July, wandered across the border. These three have been accused of espionage. The U.S. refused the Iranian offer of a prisoner exchange.
Malaysia has become a regular supplier of refined fuels to Iran. Malaysian politicians are quite anti-American, many of them believing that the September 11, 2001 attacks were staged by the CIA and Israel, and not carried out by Islamic terrorists.
February 3, 2010: The government announced that it had fired a rocket into space carrying a mouse, two turtles, worms and other organisms, claiming this was the start of an Iranian space program. This was another publicity stunt. Iran could have done this sort of thing years ago. It's something the U.S. and Russia first did over half a century ago.
China continues to warn that it will oppose any attempts to impose more sanctions. Meanwhile, the Iranian government says it is negotiating with an Asian nation to enrich Iranian uranium to 20 percent (for nuclear power plant use.) That nation would probably be China, but this announcement just appears to be another propaganda ploy. Iran does want nukes, because it believes (and most Iranians agree), that other nations would be more reluctant to attack a nuclear armed Iran.
February 2, 2010: The government said it would hang nine more protest leaders.
January 31, 2010: A UN investigation has concluded that the North Korean arms shipment seized in Thailand (abroad an Il-76 transport aircraft) was apparently headed for Iran. The shipment contained components for long range ballistic missiles.
January 29, 2010: Two more protest leaders were executed by hanging. The government believes it can cow the restive population into subservience, and prevent a widespread revolt that could threaten the religious dictatorship.
January 26, 2010: Iran has managed to buy the allegiance of all major Palestinian political groups, as Fatah (which controls the West Bank) removed all anti-Iranian material from its official web sites. Fatah had long resisted this, because its archenemy, Hamas (which controls Gaza) had long been a recipient of Iranian support. The Palestinians used to be big fans of Saddam Hussein, a fellow the Iranians hated, But that support ended in 2003, and has now been shifted to Iran.
January 24, 2010: An Iranian airliner (a Russian made Tu-154, piloted by a Russian crew) crashed on landing, injuring 46 passengers. Such accidents are becoming more common, as aging aircraft, trains and other transportation infrastructure continue to fail.
January 21, 2010: Another student activist was sent to jail (for 8 years) for anti-government activities. The government is sending more people like this to jail, and for longer periods. Another dozen or so anti-government publications have been warned that they will be shut down if they don't stop publishing material the government does not like. China and Iran agree, and say so in public, that the unrest in Iran has been stirred up by the U.S. (and other "foreign enemies"), via Internet activity. China is helping Iran to better police its Internet.
January 20, 2010: The Defense Ministry said it would attack foreign warships in the Persian Gulf, if there was an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. In Dubai, just across the Persian Gulf, unknown assassins killed Hamas operative Mahmoud al Mabhouh. Local police could find no local suspects, and eventually blamed Israel. Mabhouh worked with Iran to arrange weapons shipments to Gaza. Mabhouh had long been a target of Israeli intelligence services.