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2020 Iranian-American Conflict refers to the escalating military tensions between the United States and Iran following the assassination of Iran's General Qasem Soleimani, carried out via a drone airstrike on January 3rd, 2020. Following the assassination, large-scale anti-American and anti-Israeli protests took place in Tehran and other Iranian cities, while on social media, topics such as World War 3 and "WWIII" trended. In retaliation, Iran ordered missiles to be launched against Iraqi military base targets that were housing United States soldiers.
On January 3rd, 2020, the United States military carried out a drone airstrike near Baghdad International Airport. The airstrike targeted vehicle convoy carrying Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran's elite Quds Force, who was killed along with several officials from the Iraqi militia.
On the same day, the United States Department of Defence released a statement in which they disclosed that General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. Additionally, the statement named Soleimani and the Quds Force responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members.
Due to General Qasem Soleimani being a popular public figure in Iran who was regarded as a national hero, anti-American and anti-Israelian protests broke out in Iran's capital Tehran and other cities following the assassination. In Iraq, protesters rallied streets to celebrate the assassination of Soleimani.
On January 3rd, the United States Embassy in Baghdad issued a security alert which urged all United States citizens to depart Iraq immediately.
Following the assassination and further developments, "World War 3", "WWIII" and "WW3" keywords started trending on Twitter and other social media, with multiple topical memes being posted across all major online social platforms. For example, a Crying Michael Jordan meme posted by Twitter user @bigfrakltd received over 1,400 retweets and 9,600 likes in one day (shown below, left). A meme posted by Twitter user @moeltayeb11 received over 4,200 retweets and 12,300 likes in the same period (shown below, right).
Iranian Missile Attack
On January 7th, 2019, Iran launched missiles at the Al Asad Airbase in Iraq as part of the operation "Martyr Soleimani."
That evening, reporter Ryan Nelson tweeted a screenshot of a fake text message claiming the recipient had been drafted into the United States military, noting that young men in Jacksonville, Florida (shown below).
#NEW: Young men in #Jacksonville are getting fake text messages saying they've been drafted into the #military, and are going to #Iran.— Ryan Nelson (@RyanANJax) January 8, 2020
"These messages are fraudulent. Do not respond or call the numbers listed." – Office of Secretary of Defense. pic.twitter.com/yaheyngfr5
Donald Trump's Response
That evening, Trump tweeted a message about the attack, stating that "All is well!" and that the "assessment of casualties & damages is taking place now."
The following day, Trump addressed the nation about the attack (shown below). During the conference, Trump revealed that new economic sanctions against Iran would be imposed and that he would ask NATO to become more involved in the Middle East.
 The New York Times – U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian Forces
 U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Iraq – Security Alert – U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq, January 3, 2020