With no appetite in the United States to launch new wars or prolong old ones, the assassination of a top Iranian general last week came as a peculiar escalation.

Does the White House want to send a signal that it is engaging or disengaging from the Middle East?

General Qassem Soleimani was the commander of Iran's Quds Brigades, which is used by Iran to expand its military presence and influence in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

There were no indications that his assassination, which Iran considers an act of war, is part of a wider US strategy.

So, what's next for Iran-US relations? And how did we go from relative calm in 2016 to high tension in 2020?

Join host Steve Clemons and his guests in this discussion on Soleimani's assassination, US-Iran relations and the chances for de-escalation.

Guests:

Vali Nasr - Professor of Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University and author of The Shia Revival (2006)

Michele Dunne - Director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and former US diplomat in Cairo and Jerusalem

Matthew Brodsky - Senior fellow at the Gold Institute for International Strategy

Source: Al Jazeera News