A timeline of key events in the breakdown between U.S. and Iran

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Iran’s government admitted Saturday to accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner in the hours after Iran launched missile attacks on two Iraqi bases housing American troops. The missiles were launched in response to the U.S. airstrikes that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani

Here is a timeline of the recent tensions between the U.S. and Iran:

  • December 27: An American defense contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk. The rockets were launched by Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shia militia group.
  • December 29: The Pentagon carried out airstrikes against Kataib Hezbollah, two in Syria and one in Iraq, targeting weapon storage facilities and command and control locations the group uses to plan and execute attacks on coalition forces.
  • December 30: Kataib Hezbollah said the death toll from U.S. military strikes in Iraq and Syria against its fighters rose to 25. The group vowed to exact revenge for the “aggression of evil American ravens.”
  • December 31: Thousands of Iraqi protesters gathered at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in response to the U.S. airstrikes against Kataib Hezbollah. A U.S. official told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan that many of the protesters were violent actors sent by the Iranian-linked militias.
  • January 3: Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and one of Iran’s most revered figures, was killed in an airstrike ordered by President Trump. The Pentagon said Soleimani was planning an “imminent” attack. The IRGC also supports the Kataib Hezbollah, the group believed to be responsible for the contractor’s death.
  • January 7: Iranian rockets struck two bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq in retaliation for Soleimani’s death. There were no U.S. or Iraqi casualties in the strike. 
  • January 8: In an address to the nation, Mr. Trump said Iran “appears to be standing down” after the strikes on the bases in Iraq. Mr. Trump also announced the U.S. will “immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions” against Iran.
  • January 9: The U.S. House of Representatives delivered a sharp rebuke to Mr. Trump over his use of U.S. military power in the Middle East. The House approved a measure, relating to the War Powers Resolution of 1973, to restrict his authority to strike Iran without congressional approval.
  • January 9: Separately, Mr. Trump said the strike that killed Soleimani was ordered “because they were looking to blow up our embassy.” He was presumably referring to the U.S. compound in Baghdad, which was the focus of angry protests by pro-Iranian demonstrators less than two weeks ago. “We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious,” Mr. Trump continued. “Somebody died, one of our military people died, people were badly wounded just a week before. And we did it.”
  • January 10: Mr. Trump said four U.S. embassies, including the American Embassy in Baghdad, were targeted in a planned attack orchestrated by Soleimani. Sources told CBS News that members of Congress were not told during a briefing by administration officials earlier this week about any imminent threats to U.S. embassies.

  • January 11: Iran admitted it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called it an “unforgivable mistake.”


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