January 3, 2020
WASHINGTON – The killing of top Iranian military leader Gen. Qasem Soleimani followed several days of escalating tensions between the United States and Iran that started with the killing of an American contractor.
But it’s also the latest in a broader beef between the two nations, including President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear pact in 2018 and subsequent sanctions he imposed on Iran in order to make them come to a new deal.
The killing of a powerful public official by the U.S. military renewed a war of words on Friday with Iran vowing a “harsh retaliation” and Trump sending a taunting tweet. Now, Washington and the world braces for what’s next.
Here’s how the two countries arrived at this point in tensions:
American contractor killed
On Dec. 27, an American contractor was killed and several U.S. military service members were wounded in a 30-plus rocket attack on a military base near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq. The Pentagon withheld the names of the Americans.