The start of 2020 has seen an escalation in tensions between the US and Iran not previously seen since the 1970s. These tensions culminated in a US airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. As is typical of the Trump administration, US officials and Trump himself have oscillated wildly between different positions. At first, it seemed as if a US invasion was imminent, with anti-war groups issuing ominous warnings of the beginning of World War III. On 8 January, however, Trump appeared to backtrack, claiming that Tehran was “standing down” and claiming to welcome military de-escalation.