Iris (and Ash to an extent) haven't learned anything but neither has Cilan.
2. Yes Cilan's Pokemon are strong. But strength shouldn't have an effect on whether it's believable that they learn a new move. All Pokemon regardless of strength can learn a new move. Yes I agree that Axew learning Outrage of all moves was an eyebrow raiser. However Scraggy another young Pokemon learned Hi Jump Kick, a pretty powerful move. Just like Axew, Scraggy had been shown to be fairly weak most of the time. Yet he also learned a powerful move that he shouldn't know until he was close to evolving (like Axew). However who is getting raged at for learning powerful moves. Not Scraggy.
3. He has lost. But he hasn't shown any improvement either.
Her background isn't all that glorified. Yes it is impressive and it did come as a shock considering how she was handling her Pokemon at the time. But it's not like every few seconds they bring up that she beat 99 trainers in the past. They bring up her being from the Village of Dragons every now and then because area is apparently special and it appears to be rare that those from that village venture out into the outside world. But you know, a gym leader/Connoisseur travelling around is pretty rare too. That gets brought up occasionally too.It's a stark difference than Iris, whose over-glorified background had her undefeated in the past winning a tournament. Then she goes on to win another tournament, showing up the main of the show...primarily using Pokemon not tied to her goal at all, as well as already being shown to handle more powerful Dragon type Pokemon. So all the writers are really doing is bringing her closer, and closer to sue-ville everytime she get's focus.
While she has been shown to be able to handle more powerful Dragon-types, we must remember they weren't hers. If she does get another, more powerful dragon type (which SHE SHOULD) whose to say she won't encounter problems with them. Now how fast they get resolved will be up to the writers. I hope they will take the time to develop her and her Pokemon more.
She doesn't have a super-special portrayal. All she did was get a chance to shine before being relegated to the background while someone else takes center stage.Iris' presence in the group is less justified given that all she did was bitch at Ash(though I will admit this has died down considerably), complain about how annoying Dento was/is, has all the qualities of a Dragon Master, and her super-special protrayal.