What’s going on with the Iranian conflict?

As memes about a draft and World War III surge the internet, it’s not hard to get lost in the question of what is true, what is exaggerated and what the actual situation is. We’ll break down the basics and answer questions questions about the U.S. conflict with Iran.

When and how did tension with Iran start?

According to the BBC, tension with Iran began in 1953 when the United States and British intelligence agencies overthrew the Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq, because of his of his desire to nationalize the Iranian oil industry, which Great Britain had controlled for decades. 

In 1979, Iranian protesters stormed the US embassy and held American hostages for 444 days.

In 1988, an American warship shot down an Iran Air flight in the Gulf, killing all 290 people on board. The U.S. said the Airbus A300 was mistaken for a fighter jet.

A breaking point happened in 2002 when President Bush deemed Iran an “Axis of Evil.” Around this time is when it was revealed that Iran was developing nuclear facilities. 

In 2013, President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on the phone, marking the first top-level conversation in more than 30 years. In 2015, a nuclear deal between the two along with the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany was achieved. Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Moving into the era of the Trump Administration, the nuclear deal was abandoned by President Trump and sanctions on oil tighten have caused problems for Iran’s economy.

What happened recently to make this a big deal?

On Jan. 3, Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated in a drone strike. In retaliation, Iran sent missiles attacking a U.S. military base in Iraq and pulled itself out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. 

Why was there an order to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani?

Unable to explain why he ordered a drone strike to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, President Trump sent a tweet at 11:09 am on Jan. 13. “It doesn’t really matter,” he said, “because of his horrible past.” The reason, according to the Trump administration, has been inconsistent since it happened, although the President insists otherwise. “It’s been totally consistent,” he said in a separate tweet. “Bad person, killed a lot of Americans, killed a lot of people. We killed him,” President Trump said. Most recently, he insisted that the general was planning to attack four embassies, although evidence supporting the assumption is not present, according to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper on CBS News.

Students have different opinions on whether or not President Trump did the right thing. “I think that Trump thinks this is all a game and that he did what he did to get re-elected” said junior Sarah Ellis. Sophomore Jackson Adamski on the other hand, said something different. “Trump killing Suleimani I think was good because he was a terrible person,” he said. Adamski added that he believes President Trump had a good amount of assertiveness to get his point across to Iran. 

What comes next?

The answer to this question is one no one knows for sure. What we do know, from the protests in Iran and the talk here about drafts and WWIII, is that the people from both countries do not want this to escalate any further.

“One of the things that bothers me is that a lot of people are joking about getting drafted, which in reality won’t happen,” Ellis said. “What people should be concerned about are the innocent families in Iran that will suffer because of this, whether we go to war or not.”  According to the New York Times, both President Trump and Iranian leaders have shown that they do not want to further hostilities. At school, the talk about the conflict has quieted and students agree that war is not something to aim for. “Obviously, war is bad but I think it’s not going to escalate into anything,” Adamski said. Sophomore Mason Saunders agrees. “I don’t think we’re going to war; it feels like people are overreacting,”  Saunders said. “But, we should do our best to avoid war, obviously.”