The unbelievable chain of events in the US – Iran conflict has metaphormosised into a dimension no one possibly foresaw.
Whether all of these are well orchestrated plans or not is still unknown.
However, it is certain that the Iranian government are really up for it now, especially against its own citizens.
Arranged chronologically, here are events that made us believe that President Donald Trump click baited the Iranian government into making a costly mistake.
1. He Withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.
Before Trump came into power, diplomatic relationship between US and Iran could best be described as ‘calm’ even though it had never ceased to be tensed. His emergence as president soon changed the narrative.
On May 8 2018, President Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) after being a signatory to it since July 2015.
The agreement involved US, Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, UK and the European Union.
It sought to remove sanctions the international community had placed on Iran in the wake of its quest to develop a nuclear weapon, and in exchange, Iran to have access to reduced levels of uranium in its nuclear pursuit.
Donald Trump in his statement stated
“we cannot prevent an Iranian bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the agreement”.
While many world leaders condemned the move, including members of the opposition party, Israel and Saudi Arabia instead commended Trump.
This act by Trump no doubt jolted the Iranian government because of the effect it had on the economy.
2. He placed sanctions on Iran.
One of the many consequences of America’s withdrawal from the deal was reimposition of sanctions on Iran which had been lifted between 2015 – 2018 when they (US) were still a signatory to it.
These sanctions, secondary in nature, were targeted at applying pressure on other countries to prevent them from trading with Iran in areas of shipping, energy and oil sales.
This singular action impacted Iran’s economy negatively, as many nations stopped trading with them, especially buying its crude oil which is the country’s major source of revenue.
As if that was not difficult enough, between June – November 2019, Trump said he will come down hard on the country and placed more sanctions on them, this time, targeting diplomats and individuals.
The sanctions were aimed at freezing the supreme leader’s assets.
The Foreign Minister, Mohammad Java’s Zarif was banned from entering the US and his meetings with the United Nations restricted, while the Minister of Information had his properties blocked.
3. Assassination of Qassem Soleimani.
The assassination of Soleimani, an Iranian former military leader by Trump’s administration is another point to note.
The terrorist was behind many attacks in the continent.
As the head of the Quds Force, his strikes aimed at killing US citizens and destroying its facilities in the region.
He was killed on January 3 2020 following air strikes by US drones in Iraq after Trump had given the orders.
His death angered the Iranian government that it promised to avenge his death.
This threat was carried out on January 7 2020 when the Iranian government fired missiles at two US military bases in Iraq.
Although, the attacks recorded no deaths.
Due to the negative impact of previous events, the Iranian military became proactive, watching everything that flew passed its airspace.
This overzealous act turned out to be a fatal move, a dangerous mistake, similar to shooting oneself on the foot.
4. The plane crash and Trump’s insistence Iran shot down the aircraft.
It was Confucius who once said:
“before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves, one for you and one for your enemy”
On January 2020, a Ukrainian International Airline (UIA) flight crashed shortly after taking off from Iran enroute Ukraine killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board.
The Iranian government blamed the plane crash on technical issues. Also, they refused to give Ukraine the blackbox for investigations.
Reports first emerge from US media that Iran may have mistakenly shot down the plane but the government refuted this claim.
In fact, President Donald Trump emphatically stated that, he did not believe Iranian government who said the crash was caused by a mechanical failure.
“It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood, someone could have made a mistake”, he said
It eventually took the government several days to admit shooting down the Boeing 737-800 aircraft which killed 82 Iranians, 63 Canadian – Iranians, 11 Ukrainians and 20 other people from other nationalities.
An emotional laden head of the Revolutionary Guard apologized before parliament saying
“I swear to almighty God that I wished I was on that plane and had crashed with them and buried but had not witnessed this tragic incident… I have never been this embarrassed in my entire life”.
This sorrowful and heart breaking confession was a little too late.
The manner which the government handled the whole incident caused a wave of angry reactions in the country.
5. Iranian government eventually owning up it shot down the plane but in error and the mass protest that ensued.
After accepting responsibility for the shooting of the plane, it sparked lots of protest in Tehran and other cities in Iran against their government.
Videos posted online showed protesters shouting anti-government slogans.
One of the protesters chanted
“They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here”.
There have been calls for those responsible for the mishap to resign.
A newspaper headline read ‘Apologize and resign’.
Even prominent individuals in the country have started registering their displeasure.
A reformist member of the Tehran City Council, Bahareh Arvin took to social media to say she was resigning in protest at the government’s lies and corruption.
As the protest continues, there are reports that people are being shot at, killing and injuring the protesters.
In a bid to conceal this information, the government closed down its internet, preventing the outside world from accessing happenings in there.
In November last year, the country witnessed series of protests against the government accusing it of bad governance. The crackdown on the protesters led to about 1500 deaths.
Whether this escalates into more serious crisis and forces Ayatollah Ali Khameini’s government to step down is yet to be seen. However, it can be seen that the Iranian government fell flat into Donald Trump’s trap.
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