In 1979, when the US embassy in Tehran was closed, no one could imagine it won’t open up again for decades. Some political analysts thought it was just a mistake and misunderstanding between the two countries and maybe everything fixes up again after a few years. But in reality, the relationships worsened each day. Now after 40 years, not only the US does not have an embassy in Iran, but also the US embassy in Iraq was surrounded by Iraqi allies of Iran demonstrating their anger for the frequent intrusions inside Iraq last week.
In the recent 15 years, Iran has spread its influence in the region by its determining interventions in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Also, Iran has good relationships with Pakistan, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain are allies of the US in the region who depend on the US military and economic support in their development and security. One reason for this influence of Iran has been from the wars run or funded by the US in the region -directly in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan and indirectly funding and supporting the war in Yemen and Syria. Donald Trump blamed Obama for 7 trillion dollars spending in the region and founding ISIS and after all, not achieving much over there -however, he followed similar policies after his election! This war and insecurity put the citizens of these countries in front of the US. On the other hand, Iran was invited by the governments of these countries to support the militaries.
The general who was responsible for the exterritorial military actions of Iran was Mr. Soleimani, known as the symbol of Iran’s support throughout the region. He was invited to Iraq for a formal meeting with the Iraqi prime minister on Friday, 3rd January 2020 when his car was suddenly shot by the US airstrike and he and some other Iraqi and Iranian generals were assassinated. Trump claimed the reason for this terror was that he was designing a plan to intrude on the US facilities in Iraq and support the demonstrators around the US embassy. From the very first hours after this, Iran threatened the US about an act of ‘fierce revenge’. It made the ‘WWIII’, ‘Soleimani’, and ‘dear Iran’ on top Twitter trends very soon.
The funerals of the murdered soldiers started in Iraq the next day. Exceptional commemorations for the Iranian and the Iraqi generals and large protests against the US made the two nations closer than ever. Then the Iraqi parliament enacted a law for the full exit of American soldiers from Iraq.
Then the bodies were brought to Iran. Funeral events in successive days were extremely unique regarding their large population size in Ahvaz, Mashhad, Tehran, and Kerman gathering different parts of the society united together against the US action -Just in Tehran, the number was estimated 7 million people on the streets.
The global media was also interesting to write about during these days. Instagram, the American photo-sharing platform, which has now the greatest number of users among open social network platforms in Iran, started a huge blocking policy against Iranian posts related to general Soleimani these days. Many politicians and celebrities lost their account because of simple posts about the funerals or their disgust, which Instagram blocked because of ‘violence and dangerous organizations’ contents! In fact, Instagram identified millions of people in Iran as supporters of ‘violence’ and/or the official military force of a country as a ‘dangerous organization’! The reasoning was like this: Trump identified IRGC -one branch of official military forces in Iran- as a terrorist organization (and Iran as a ‘terrorist nation’!!). Instagram and Twitter are under US national laws. THEN everything about Soleimani would be blocked! The reaction of the world channels and news agencies was also the same, banning the voice of Iran and their reason, arguing that the US only defended its national security by preventing Soleimani’s future activities. This fact shows that unfortunately, there’s no open inter-cultural dialogue space even in online communication platforms.
After the funeral events were held in different cities, Iran began its promised ‘fierce revenge’ process by shooting about 20 rockets onto the US military base in Iraq, called Ein-al-Assad, one of the most important American bases in the region causing it a total destroy. Iran stated 80 Americans murdered in the strike, however, Trump said it was nothing and everything is well as we had already left there! -The American news agencies commonly censored the number stated by Iran, downsizing the reaction. Anything it was, some analysts argue that it’s the first time after the Second World War that a country had enough courage to openly attack American facilities.
Some people in Iran were scared about the US reaction and some others thought there’s no other way, as if Iran did not retaliate, it would endanger the future national security and the national dignity. (They cited the Quran that if you tolerate in the war against the oppressors, God will send his special help for you. And if, after all, you pass away in this way, you’ll be martyred and achieve eternal happy life.) I think this proved to be true, as the US retreated with no reaction despite their past heavy threats (Trump’s Tweet in the above picture). It was the real implicit theory behind the general Soleimani’s activity in the region. He loved to be martyred against the world oppressors who are bringing war and insecurity in the region. There are many of his speeches and handwritings stating his courage and thirst for martyring. He was extremely kind in his personal relationships but very serious against the enemies of freedom and sovereignty.
The tragic ending of this story was shooting an international flight airplane including normal people -mostly students- departing a few hours after the attack by mistake when the Iranian military was ready to defend from any coming missiles of the US army. This mistake killed about 180 people from different nationalities reminding us that in the ‘new world of relationships’ any war in any location will spread global hurt and injure.