Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and Washington

The assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani is a turning point for relations between the United States and Iran. It also pulls U.S. allies in Europe deeper into uncharted waters, and threatens to leave European forces on the ground caught in the crossfire of escalation between Tehran and Washington.

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U.S. President Donald Trump has removed a top Iranian military operative blamed for bloodshed in the region. But in doing so, he has exposed every American boot on the ground in the Middle East to possible retaliatory attacks and opened up new space for Iran to up the ante. By publicly and boastfully targeting a high profile confidant of Iran’s supreme leader, Trump has also rewritten the rules of engagement that had, for the large part of the past decade, allowed Iran and the U.S. to reduce the risk of collision in their operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of their individual authors.


Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa programme
Senior Policy Fellow

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