Conflict with Iran

Emily Woo ‘22

On January 3, the targeted killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani became the breaking point of the long-simmering tensions between the U.S. and Iran. 


United States President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Soleimani in response to an Iranian attack in Iraq in which an American contractor was killed and soldiers were injured. Soleimani was killed in an air strike at Baghdad International Airport, along with 25 militia fighters. Iranians and Iraqis alike were outraged at the strikes; a funeral procession held in Iraq resulted in the mourners chanting “Death to America”.


Trump maintains that this action was necessary as a preventative measure against war, not to incite war. The Defense Department agreed that the “strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans” (Helsel et al.). Previous U.S. presidents decided against this bold move for fear that it would result in war, and with good reason. Following the strike, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared that Americans would face the consequences of this provocative action “not only today, but also in the coming years” and that “the Americans did not understand what grave mistake they committed” (Glgova et al.). 


Tensions between Washington and Tehran were rising as it was, but are now at an all time high. Soleimani was one of the most powerful men in Iraq, one who Trump claims was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” (Glgova) on American diplomats. Soleimani was also believed to be in support of various terrorist groups such as Kataib Hezbollah. 


While Soleimani was the hero of many Iraqis, many others saw him to be corrupt. A group of anti-corruption demonstrators in Iraq has protested Iran’s influence on the Iraqi government as well as corruption within the Iraqui government. Still, this group disapproves of the U.S. attack- they do not want outside rule in any form. Reactions within the U.S. are mixed as well, with many Republicans believing it to be justified while the Democratic speaker of the House claims the move was made lawmakers’ consultation.


Soleimani’s death “meets virtually any definition of an act of war” (Zraick) and Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei vows revenge. The States Department urged Americans to leave Iran.