Get the facts straight: Iran-U.S. relations

by McKenzie Henningsen, Reporter

What happened and why?

An armed American drone killed Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian military general, on Jan. 3. The Defense Department said it killed Soleimani because he approved the two-day attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, Dec. 31, and  “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” 

Where are we now?

Tensions between Iran and the United States have worsened since President Donald Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal and imposed sanctions in 2018. It is too early to tell if tensions will escalate enough to cause a war.

Iran has vowed to seek revenge for the U.S. airstrike, and on Jan. 7, Iran attacked the Al Asad airbase in Iraq.

Trump tweeted on Sunday, Jan. 4 that the U.S. will hit 52 targets in the Islamic Republic, including some important to “the Iranian Culture.”

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would only attack “lawful targets.” However, under international agreements to which the U.S. belongs, targeting cultural sights may be considered a war crime. 

In preparation of a possible attack overseas, the U.S. will deploy 3,500 troops from Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division to the Middle East.

In the midst of the conflict, a Ukraine International Airlines airplane crashed on Jan. 8, and was accidentally shot down by Iran, killing 176 people. However, the details of the situation are still being investigated.