For a country constrained by economic sanctions, and at the centre of a dangerous military and diplomatic crisis, the Islamic Republic of Iran looks and feels surprisingly relaxed. There are no checkpoints on the roads, or armed soldiers on the streets. Courting couples hold hands as they stroll the pavements. Women parade their make-up, hair and skinny jeans. The shops and bazaars are humming. Even as elements of the regime’s notorious Quds brigade move in to central Iraq to prop up its government, no sense of panic intrudes on the country’s daily life.