Alireza Nader, a senior policy analyst at the U.S.-based RAND Corp., said Afghan and Pakistani recruits also provide Iran with future armies that Tehran can employ to enhance its influence in the region and as protection against perceived enemies.
"What the conservatives fear is Rohani using his popularity to enact major changes in Iran," he said. "So far, Rohani has been very cautious, but will his calculation change after a nuclear deal? While he may get a big boost from a nuclear accord, he still faces a political system largely controlled by conservatives. They are likely to push back hard against any attempts at reform, no matter how small."