"Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost or damage incurred to any of our facilities. They will pay a very GREAT PRICE! This is not a warning, it is a threat, "said Mr. Trump. tweeted on New Years Eve. " Happy New Year! "
A few hours after 2020, the supreme leader of Iran responded with a taunt.
"There is nothing you can do," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote on his Twitter account in English. He added: "If you were logical - which you are not - you would see that your crimes in Iraq, in Afghanistan ... made the nations hate you. "
Two days later, General Suleimani was dead - killed in a drone strike ordered by Mr. Trump.
Nine months of escalation, errors of judgment and animated messages led to the president's decision, which stunned his own military advisers as well as senior officials in Tehran.
"It was clear that Iran did not expect Trump to respond in a meaningful way," said Sadjadpour, the Iranian expert.
The murder prompted Iran to take a step it had long avoided: a direct and open strike against the US military. Four days after General Suleimani's death, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two US bases in Iraq. More than 100 American soldiers were injured, but no one was killed, and Mr. Trump and his advisers believed that the United States had made the most of the exchange.
In the weeks that followed, they insisted that their strategy worked, that the constant pressure of "maximum pressure" would force Iran to yield to its demands. But, at least publicly, Iran remains provocative and committed to resourceful tactics regarding its nuclear program and regional military influence.
Hours after Iranian missiles landed on US bases in Iraq, Khamenei vowed that the "brutal revenge" was just beginning. "The corrupt US presence in the region must end," he told a large crowd in the city of Qum, adding that Iran would not rest until it reached this point. goal.
Mark Mazzetti reported from Washington, Ronen Bergman from Tel Aviv and Farnaz Fassihi from New York. Julian E. Barnes contributed to Washington reporting.
This article appeared first (in English) on NEW YORK TIMES