US Threatens to React If Iran Tries to Avenge Soleimani Killing

No sign of Iran considering further action

On January 3, the US assassinated Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and very nearly started a war. With the anniversary looming, the US seems to expect something to happen, or at the very least is taking the opportunity to threaten retaliation if Iran tries to retaliate for the killing.

In reality, there is no sign Iran is planning anything, and indeed they already retaliated in the weeks after the assassination, firing missiles at a base in Iraq that housed US troops. That was to be the end of it, both sides agreed.

But with US hostility toward Iran, it’s never really the end of it, and even with Iran publicly discouraging its allies from attacking the US, trying to prevent a war during the US post-election transition.

That’s a pretty clear sign Iran isn’t planning anything, but US officials clearly believe they haven’t threatened Iran enough recently, so this is as good an excuse as any. Making up something Iran isn’t doing for the sake of saber-rattling is just par for the course, raising concern that the US may use this imagined threat as a pretext to act.

For Iran, this is just a continuation of the threat of the US attacking before Trump leaves office, something that was always there. Their goal, however, is to avoid that, and hope for better diplomacy with Biden.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.