A few days ago I remembered this conversation and realized much has changed.
The U.S. still has military in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar but at a much smaller level. Troops in Afghanistan meanwhile are held in place by the resurrected Taliban. Yemen's leadership has changed with the Sevener Shia rebel Huthis holding northern Yemen. Iraq has an Iranian-friendly government with many Iranian proxies in place. Egypt's new military/Muslim Brotherhood government in formation has taken a much softer line towards Iran. Hezbollah is unchallenged in Lebanon after a series of military victories against both Israel and other Lebanese militias. Meanwhile, Turkey's government has become noticeably much more friendly to Iran while both Russia and the People's Republic of China are vocal diplomatic allies of Iran. A major shift is Pakistan being much more diplomatically engaging with Iran due to Pakistan's frustrations with American activities in Afghanistan. Finally, Syria is split in civil war and Saudi Arabia remains hostile towards Iran but without a significant American military presence
Just because Turkey and Egypt have taken a friend line towards Iran, this does not make them military allies ready to stand up for the Islamic Republic in case of war. However, the military and political shifts has clearly made Iran's geopolitical position much more favorable to it compared to the country's situation in 2003.