An update and timeline on the series of the U.S. and Iranian foreign relations over the last decade


The U.S. has been involved in the Middle East for decades. Since 2015, however, the U.S. has been heavily involved specifically in Iran. Tensions rose when U.S. forces recently assassinated an Iranian general, prompting a #WWIII trend across social media.

Since then, the coverage of this issue has simmered down, leading many to wonder where the countries’ relationship stands now.


Here is a short timeline from July 2015 to the present


July 14, 2015 – Iran Nuclear Deal is signed between Iran and world powers. This deal ended sanctions that were crippling their economy in exchange for Iran halting expansion of their nuclear program. 

May 8, 2018 – U.S. retreats from Iran Nuclear deal as President Donald Trump does not feel the Iranians are halting their nuclear developments.

Aug. 7, 2018 – First round of sanctions against Iran are reimplemented. 

Nov. 5, 2018 – Second round of tighter sanctions are reimplemented. 

May 19, 2019 – An Iranian rocket landed near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

June 17, 2019 – The Pentagon authorized the deployment of 1,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East.

June – Dec. 2019 – Tensions begin escalating between the nations as they go back and forth, claiming they are ready to go to war with the other. 

Dec. 27, 2019 – U.S. contractor and service members die on an Iraqi military base from an Iranian rocket attack. 

Dec. 29, 2019 – The U.S. retaliates by carrying out defensive strikes. At least 50 Iranians are wounded and 25 killed. 

Dec. 31, 2019 – Iranian protesters attack and surround the U.S. embassy in Baghdad to retaliate against the sanctions and U.S. involvement in the region. 

Jan. 3, 2020 – U.S. authorizes a drone strike that targeted and killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani.

Jan. 8, 2019 – One day after saying they want to get back to full compliance, Iran launched a series of attacks on more U.S. bases located in Ain al-Assad and near Erbil airport. 


Present Day


In response to these attacks, Trump announced he would tighten sanctions that were placed on Iran. This marked a stark de-escalation of the problem between the two nations. 

Taking the matter from one of missiles and drones to one of diplomatic relations has emphasized that the U.S. does not want a full-scale war with Iran. 

While many people thought the Jan. 3 drone strike was a rash decision made by Trump, the strike had been planned seven months in advance. During that time, Trump said he would authorize a strike on the official if escalated tensions lead to the death of an American. 

By this line of thinking, as soon as an American died by an Iranian strike on Dec. 27, Trump had most likely signed off on the strike. 

The tension has ultimately seemed to die down and there have been no serious actions taken by either party to escalate the conflict to a serious level since. 

The Iranians knew that going to war with the U.S. would cause serious harm and destruction on their land. Their foreign minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted, “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense, We do not seek escalation or war.” 

For the time being, there seems to be no further developments in this story as the US sanctions are currently doing their job. America continues to seek the help of European nations from preventing the Iranian’s from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon and maintains its point of view of renewed deterrence.