If we compare Russian foreign policy to former Soviet policy, we can see that even if Russia is much weaker than the Soviet Union in terms of resources, Russia is more dangerous for the US.
Today world is not ideological extremized like in the 30s and 40s years of twenty century, but still Empire have tools to use it against non obeying government.
The comparison between the Balkans and the Middle East as object of imperial power influence is a good example how "small" states should act.
Finally, we can conclude that Iran has proven to be very successful in its long-term policies regarding the principled regional alliance, strong air defense, retaliation capabilities, and full control of the Hormuz Strait.
After the end of the WWII, the things were developing in a predictable manner. Antitank systems were getting stronger, the tank has become more susceptible to destruction.
The politics based on post-colonial borders, economic pressure, cultural psy-ops warfare, are the creation of new movements which are more suitable to preserve the dominant role of the world order.
The newest US anti-Iran sanctions: null effect in political-economic terms, but revealing hidden messages
With the Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May 2018, everything Khamenei said proved to be correct. Zarif and other "moderates" must have experienced a bitter awakening.