Updated Jan 11, 2020

Iran's 3 catastrophic mistakes

This GIF of three video images, of Iran's shootdown of a Ukrainian plane, shows a flash at the moment of explosion (darkest image), the plane engulfed, then the crash. Images: AP

The Iranian regime has miscalculated in three disastrous ways, leaving the Supreme Leader in a weaker position than 11 days ago.

Our thought bubble: Trump is taking a lot of flak globally and from Democrats. But at this moment, the Iranian regime is doing most of the suffering.

  1. "Death to America" protests on Dec. 31 breached security at the fortress-like U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and Trump tweeted: "Iran will be held fully responsible." Three day later, Iranians lost their most powerful military leader when a U.S. drone took out Qasem Soleimani.
  2. Iran promised "'forceful revenge." But ballistic missile strikes aimed at U.S. troops on two bases in Iraq killed no one. Trump then said: "Iran appears to be standing down."
  3. Iran lied about the mass murder of 176 people because a trigger-happy idiot shot down a civilian Ukrainian plane taking off from Tehran. The regime looks like dishonest incompetents on the global stage.

Go deeper... What we know: Ukrainian Boeing 737 crashes in Tehran

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Iran says it mistakenly shot down Ukrainian passenger plane

Search and rescue workers at the site after a Boeing 737 plane belonging to a Ukrainian airline that crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport in Iran just after takeoff. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iran announced in a statement on Saturday (local time) that its military mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed on Wednesday, killing all passengers aboard, according to multiple reports.

What they're saying, per the Iranian military's statement: The Boeing 737 jetliner operated by Ukrainian International Airlines “took the flying posture and altitude of an enemy target” as it came close to an Iranian military base, and “under these circumstances, because of human error,” the plane “came under fire,” the New York Times writes.

Go deeperArrowJan 11, 2020

Iran escalation ends in tragedy and outrage

Riot police and demonstrators on Saturday near Tehran's Amir Kabir University. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Twelve days in which war between the U.S. and Iran seemed to loom ever closer began and ended with apparent Iranian mistakes.

The big picture: Iran is under growing pressure at home and abroad, while President Trump appears emboldened. But Trump is also facing criticism in Washington for failing to substantiate claims of an "imminent" threat, and overseas for his role in driving the escalation.

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020

Iran's president says European soldiers in Middle East "could be in danger"

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran's president warned today that European soldiers in the Middle East "could be in danger" after three nations — Britain, France and Germany — challenged Tehran over breaking the limits of its nuclear deal, the AP reports.

Why it matters: President Hassan Rouhani's remarks in a televised Cabinet meeting represent the first direct threat he's made to Europe.

Go deeperArrowJan 15, 2020