Understanding the rising tensions between Iran and the U.S.

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Protesters burn a U.S. flag.
Protesters burn a U.S. flag during a demonstration over the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 3, 2020.
Vahid Salemi | AP

Iran is promising to exact revenge on the United States after President Trump ordered a drone strike in Iraq, killing one of Iran’s top military officials.

Mike Esper, the defense secretary, called the attack a defensive measure. The drone strike comes after 11 attacks carried out by Iranian forces over the past two months.

Ken Pollack is a former CIA analyst and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

In an op-ed from May of last year, Pollack wrote:

“The best reason not to go to war with Iran is that we will almost certainly win. But in winning, we could easily cause the collapse of the Iranian regime, which would create the same kind of chaos and internal conflict in Iran that our failure to prepare for a full-scale reconstruction of Iraq caused there.”

MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with Pollack about the current situation in Iran and the potential ripple effects of increasing tensions between the two countries.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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