Conventional wisdom states that Lebanon's Shiite militia Hezbollah was birthed in direct response to Israel's 1982 invasion of its northern neighbor to curb constant cross-border terrorist attacks. Even Hezbollah portrays itself as such.
But the truth is that the groundwork for the group was laid long before, and that Hezbollah is actually part and parcel of Iran's Islamic Revolution. In fact, the title "Hezbollah" (Party of Allah) was first used by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's faction after it seized power in Iran in 1979.
This expose by The Weekly Standard provides a detailed rundown of the various Iranian groups jockeying for position in Lebanon prior to the fall of the shah. Lebanon had long been an outpost and base of operations for Iranian Islamists.
What is clear from the article is that Hezbollah is much more than just an Iranian proxy. It is a local extension of the Iranian regime and its Revolutionary Guard.
As such, the policies and behavior of Hezbollah can tell a lot about the underlying intentions of Iran, particularly when it comes to the Islamic Republic's suspected nuclear weapons program.
Like Hezbollah, Iranian leader's are probably serious when they speak of the destruction of Israel as a long-term goal. And that suggests Israeli leaders are right to be over-cautious in their quest to keep out of Iran's hands the kinds of weapons that would make that goal achievable.