By Ishaan Bhattacharya
Recently, President Donald J. Trump authorized a drone strike that killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, a controversial decision motivated by years of tension between the U.S. and Iran. Soleimani’s death was the result of escalatory actions in previous years such as the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal by President Trump. The Iran Nuclear Deal was orchestrated by the Obama Administration in 2015 with a central objective of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Then, the Trump Administration initiated a “maximum pressure” campaign with the intention of pressuring Iran into negotiating a more stringent version of the 2015 deal. This campaign included harsh economic sanctions and failed miserably. Also, last summer, as the US deployed military assets to the Middle East, attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region were blamed on Iran by the U.S. Amid this rising tension, Iran shot down a US drone in June. Trump nearly retaliated with a military strike, but pulled back at the last minute. But the final escalation in late December when an Iran-backed militia in Iraq staged attacks that resulted in the death of an American contractor and injured several US service members. The US responded with air strikes that killed dozens of the militia members, which prompted a violent protest at the US Embassy in Baghdad. Although the future contains incertitude, President Trump has not displayed signs of cooperation with Iran, and will stand stubbornly in the face of imminent nuclear warfare.
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