Continous conflict between Iran and the United States

Lily Belcher, Staff Writer

On December 27, 2019, Nawres Hamid, an Iraqi-American contractor, was killed in a rocket attack on a US military base in Iraq while working as a translator for US troops.  The US blamed Iran for the fatal attack that killed the father of two from California and resulted in injuries to other US troops.

In retaliation, the US launched “precision defensive strikes,” as they were described by the US Department of Defense, in areas of Iraq and Syria killing 25 Iranian backed militias.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this strike was to warn Iran that the US would not sit idly by while Iran attacked the US or its allies, echoing former National Security Advisor John Bolton.  Bolton previously had said, “any attack on United States interests or those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force” foreshadowing the efforts taken to squash the violent attacks from Iran.

This strike was met with threats of retaliation from the Iranian government the following day.

Militia backed protests ensued in Iraq and dozens stormed the US embassy in Baghdad.  Although there were no fatalities, President Trump tweeted, “[Iran] will be held fully responsible” for the storming of the US embassy.

On January 2, President Trump ordered a drone strike near Baghdad’s International Airport which targeted and killed a known terrorist, General Qasem Soleimani of the Iraqi Republican Guard.

The Pentagon said in a statement, “General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more…”  

President Trump ordered the attack based on intelligence that placed Soleimani at the airport while planning extensive terrorist attacks against US interests.  Presidents Obama and Bush used military forces against known US threats, such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda respectively, based on similar intelligence gathered. While Congresses since the 1973 War Powers Resolution’s inception have argued such use of the military isn’t Constitutional, no Congress has done more than pass resolutions condemning the use of such force.

Six days later, Iran launched 16 ballistic missiles on US forces.  President Trump said, “No Americans were harmed,” but recent reports have refuted this assessment. 

Eleven service members were reportedly brought to hospitals in Kuwait and Germany with concussion symptoms. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, “[The attack] was a blow to the U.S image as a superpower.” 

 This was seemingly a veiled threat of the power Iran holds over the U.S., but no counter strike has been conducted against Iran.

These recent events have merely added onto the preexisting conflicts between the US and the country formerly known as Persia before the 1950s. Prior to 1953, US-Iran relations were beneficial to both countries; the US provided military resources to Iran, who supplied oil and natural goods to the US.  

The strained relationship is a result of a series of diplomatic missteps and post WW2 alliances.  The US and Britain supported the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and replaced the Iranian leader with the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.  Essentially, the US replaced the leader the Iranian people chose with the leader America wanted. The total disregard for the will and culture of the Iranian people laid the foundation for a lasting conflict.

The US also sided against Iran in the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980’s.  Iran fought back by taking a number of US hostages and bombing US ally ships.  These events have built the wall higher and solidified the wedge between the two countries.  

Since 1953, the US has failed to acknowledge the Iranian government’s rich culture and the US’s ignorance has become more prominent throughout generations.  One CIA agent has even been quoted asking about the Iranian religious leader saying, “What is an Ayatollah?”  

If the US’s own intelligence agents do not know the title of the Iranian leader, how can they decide what is best for Iran?  The combination of America’s painful ignorance and forcing themselves into a foreign country’s domestic affairs has proved the US is pressing its boot on the neck of the Iranian government.  

However, the US has been trying for years to deescalate the situation with Iran.  American diplomats have tried to use diplomacy or nonviolent sanctions to control the situation with Iran, but Iranian officials have continued to resort to violent measures to demand respect from the US.  The Iranian out-dated negotiation tactics of Iran cannot be changed by the US or any external force. But the US does have a responsibility to protect its citizens and foreign interests. So, until Iran recognizes the benefits of peaceful negotiation, the US will continue to fight fire with fire to protect its people and allies.