Which is why the two latest news stories from the country are particularly worrying: the capture of a racing yacht by the Iranian navy and Tehran's plan to massively expand its uranium enrichment programme. They encapsulate the country's clenched fist response to the West's hand of friendship - and there's something particularly provocative and shameless about the actions coming, as they do, after the discovery of a secret nuclear plant only a couple of months ago. All in all, it's bound to infuriate those who think Iran needs dealing with more firmly, and perhaps even encourage a few more to join that particular cause. Iran seems to be wishing a military solution upon itself.
Whatever happens, it's another reminder that the next government will inherit international challenges which are at least as great as the fiscal problems we face domestically. Of course, government is never easy. But there aren't too many governments in our political history which have faced such a difficult task.