On January 3, 2020, United States President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, claiming he posed an "imminent" threat to the US, bringing relations between Washington and Tehran to a new low.

While Iranians have claimed the attack was an illegal act of war, the US Department of Defense says Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of American deaths and that it was to deter future attacks.

"I think that the president has wide power on the issue," former US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said. "Article 2 of the Constitution gives him that responsibility. He also has responsibility for the safety and protection of American people against threats to the homeland," he added.

"I could not imagine [Trump] would go to open the chapter of military confrontation," former Iranian diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian said.

"When he attacked General Soleimani, it was practically the beginning of military confrontation between Iran and the US because Iran also responded by attacking the American bases in Iraq," he added.

Following Soleimani's death, Iran retaliated by attacking a US military base in Iraq and injuring 50 American soldiers.

Though Soleimani helped the US defeat ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq and the group called his death "an act of divine intervention that benefitted jihadists", Kimmitt dismissed the notion that the assassination would help the ISIL.

"The Iranian based Iraqi proxies, the PMF, the Hashad, have done a brilliant job as the leading edge of the operation against ISIL. That will continue." Kimmitt said.

In this week's Arena, we debate whether Iran and the US are on the path to war.

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Source: Al Jazeera