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On January 3, 2020, the U.S. government killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani via a drone airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq. The airstrike killed the general along with other Iranian supported military figures at Baghdad airport. Gen Soleimani was the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Iran’s military abroad. He had a close relationship with the Supreme Leader of Iran and was often regarded as the second most powerful man in the country.

President Donald Trump gave the order to assassinate the general, although his administration did not previously notify congress of the attack as is often done. Congress was instead told the next day, within the 48 hour period that is required by law. The attack came after the U.S.’s last two presidents, President Obama and President Bush, both rejected the move during their presidencies. They thought it to be too risky.

Tensions have been steadily growing between Iran and the U.S. There have been several attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, including a rocket attack where a U.S. contractor civilian died. The U.S. believes Iran was responsible for these attacks. Donald Trump said the general was “plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel”. However, there have been questions over whether the evidence for these attacks actually exists. Journalists in the US have called for any evidence to be made public.

President Hassan Rouhani has said, “Iran and the other free nations of the region will take revenge for this gruesome crime from criminal America.” He added, they are determined “to stand against America’s bullying”. Iran and other countries, including US allies, are appalled and angered by the general’s death. Iraq is in a difficult position as it is allied with both Iran and the U.S. Although, Iraq has stated that the attack was a violation of its sovereignty.

The remains of General Soleimani have since been returned to Iran. His return was greeted by hundreds of thousands of mourners who took to the streets, many beating their chests and chanting “death to America”. However, in Iraq and Syria there have also been celebrations as a result of the General’s death. The General was instrumental in helping the President of Syria to oppress citizens of the country.

Many people believe the general’s death could result in war. Iraq has now banned all U.S. soldiers from the country where there are currently about 5,000 military personnel. In response, the U.S. has deployed 3,000 soldiers to the Middle East and advised all Americans to leave Iraq immediately by any means necessary.

Difficult words

Airstrike (n): An attack made from the air.

Imminent (adj): Happening soon.

Allies (n): Two or more groups who cooperate together in a positive way.

Appal (adj): Shocked and horrified.

Sovereignty (n): Supreme power or authority.

Mourner (n): A person who has lost someone important to them.

Chanting (v): People saying the same words over and over again.

Personnel (n): People who are part of a company or organisation.

Deploy (v): To release and place something where you want it.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English: Coming Soon!

Match the Synonym!

1. Airstrike A. Friends
2. Imminent B. Horrify
3. Allies C. Repeat words.
4. Appal D. Air attack.
5. Sovereignty E. Release
6. Mourner F. Workers
7. Chanting G. Feel loss.
8. Personnel H. Soon
9. Deploy I. Power

True or False?

1. The U.S. assassinated an important Iraqi general. T / F

2.  The general was at an airport when he was shot down. T / F

3. The general was the most powerful man in Iran. T / F

4. The Supreme Leader of Iran was relieved that the general was killed. T / F

5. Two previous presidents had decided against killing the general. T / F

6. The U.S. and Iran had previously had a great relationship before the general’s death. T / F

7. There have been many attacks on U.S. bases in Syria. T / F

8. Donald Trump gave the order to kill the general. T / F

9. The President of Iran has said the country will seek revenge. T / F

10. Iraq has recently welcomed American soldiers to come and stay in their country. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. with / the / close / Iran / a / Supreme Leader / of / had / He / relationship

2. assassinate / order / general / the / President Donald Trump / the / gave / to

3. told / was / Congress / next / day / instead / the

4. Iran / between / and / steadily / been / growing / Tensions / the U.S. / have

5. been / of / GeneralSoleimani / remains / to / have / The / returned / since / Iran

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English: Coming Soon!

Greeted Imminent Civilian
Bullying Advised Drone
Notify Instrumental Regarded

On January 3, 2020, the U.S. government killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani via a (1)________ airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq. The airstrike killed the general along with other Iranian supported military figures at Baghdad airport. Gen Soleimani was the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Iran’s military abroad. He had a close relationship with the Supreme Leader of Iran and was often (2)______________ as the second most powerful man in the country.

President Donald Trump gave the order to assassinate the general, although his administration did not previously (3)__________  congress of the attack as is often done. Congress was instead told the next day, within the 48 hour period that is required by law. The attack came after the U.S.’s last two presidents, President Obama and President Bush, both rejected the move during their presidencies. They thought it to be too risky.

Tensions have been steadily growing between Iran and the U.S. There have been several attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, including a rocket attack where a U.S. contractor (4)__________ died. The U.S. believes Iran was responsible for these attacks. Donald Trump said the general was “plotting (5)___________ and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel”. However, there have been questions over whether the evidence for these attacks actually exists. Journalists in the US have called for any evidence to be made public.

President Hassan Rouhani has said, “Iran and the other free nations of the region will take revenge for this gruesome crime from criminal America.” He added, they are determined “to stand against America’s (6)____________”. Iran and other countries, including US allies, are appalled and angered by the general’s death. Iraq is in a difficult position as it is allied with both Iran and the U.S. Although, Iraq has stated that the attack was a violation of its sovereignty.

The remains of General Soleimani have since been returned to Iran. His return was (7)__________ by hundreds of thousands of mourners who took to the streets, many beating their chests and chanting “death to America”. However, in Iraq and Syria there have also been celebrations as a result of the General’s death. The General was (8)_______________ in helping the President of Syria to oppress citizens of the country.

Many people believe the general’s death could result in war. Iraq has now banned all U.S. soldiers from the country where there are currently about 5,000 military personnel. In response, the U.S. has deployed 3,000 soldiers to the Middle East and (9)_______________ all Americans to leave Iraq immediately by any means necessary.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. What do people in your country think about this situation?
5. What should Iran do in response?
6. Should the US be angry if Iran does respond?
7. Was it right for the US to do this?
8. Should other countries support Iran or the US?
9. Do you think a war is likely?
10. What do people in your country think about President Trump?
11. What do people in your country think of Iran?
12. Will this make the US untrustworthy in the future?
13. Has the US military ever helped your country?
14. Has the US military ever caused harm in your country?
15. What is the reputation of the US military in your country today?
16. Has your country been involved in any middle eastern wars?
17. How will your country be affected if a war occurs?
18. Has anyone in your country ever been assassinated?
19. How do you think your country would respond if this happened?
20. Has your country’s leader commented on this situation? What did they say?