Daily Video

January 8, 2020

Iran retaliates, fires missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the questions. You can turn on the “CC” (closed-captions) function and read along with the transcript here.

Teacher’s note: We suggest you stop the video at 5m:43s for the sake of time.

For additional background on Iran and General Soleimani, use this NewsHour Extra lesson.


Summary: Early Wednesday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched 15 missiles at two air bases in Iraq that house American and other international troops.

Iranian state TV reported that the strikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of General Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general. There were no immediate reports of casualties, according to two Iraqi officials.

Soleimani’s killing and the strikes by Iran follow an increase in tensions across the Middle East in the last few years after President Donald Trump’s decided to unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. The deal was intended to avoid Iran building a nuclear weapons program.

Iran’s foreign minister said ballistic missile attacks would be “proportionate measures [made] in self-defense” and said it did not wish to escalate the situation but rather defend itself against any aggression.

‘All is well!’ Trump tweeted shortly after the missile attacks, adding, ‘So far, so good’ regarding casualties.

Ain al-Asad air base houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces, including 70 Norwegian troops.


Discussion questions:

  1. Focus question: What actions did Iran take in retaliation for the U.S. killing of General Qassem Soleimani?
  2. Why did the U.S. kill Soleimani? (see this lesson if time allows)
  3. What effects might follow the death of Soleimani and Iran’s attack on the airbases?
  4. Do you think Iran was justified in launching a ballistic missile attack? Was the U.S. justified in the killing of Soleimani? Explain.
  5. One of Soleimani’s role as a general was to seek the removal of U.S. troops from the region. How might his death affect whether or not American troops stay in the Middle East?
  6. Media literacy: What questions do you have following this report? Was enough information given from the U.S. government’s perspective? How about the American public? What perspective did you hear on Iran’s behalf?
  7. Media literacy: Further along in the segment, the NewsHour interviewed  two experts on Iran, Mara Karlin of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the Hudson Institute’s Michael Doran. What perspectives or biases do these individuals hold? Who else would you like to have heard from? What do you think of the back and forth nature of the interview with the experts? What makes for a good conversation about a very complicated topic?


Extension activity:

Read Groups demand answers after Iranians say they were detained on U.S.-Canada borderWatch this Associated Press video, if time allows. 

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