The Debate

US-Iran escalation: Will Soleimani's killing lead to a wider conflict?

By: Mark OWEN Follow | Yann PUSZTAI | Juliette LAURAIN
47 min

The world has entered 2020 with the threat level between the US and Iran at its highest for many years. Mourning scenes in Tehran are at the heart of the matter. Qassam Soleimani, one of Iran's most influential figures, was killed in a US drone strike on January 3. Soleimani led the crack military Quds force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. He was regarded as the second most powerful man in Iran, and key to Iran's regional reach and influence. His killing is raising important questions worldwide. 


And the rhetoric is rising fast and dangerously, with threats of revenge from the highest level in Tehran; and more threats of military strikes from Washington, with Iran's cultural sites the potential target. US bases and interests worldwide could well become targets, as could those of their allies, like France and the rest of the EU, and the UK.

All-out war? Or a protracted sequence of proxy retaliation that borders on full-on conflict? Either way, what's in store does not bode well for a safer world in 2020.

Produced by Yann Pusztai, Juliette Laurain and Jimena Morales Velasco.

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