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Eli Lake

Trump’s Deadly Message to Iran’s Terrorist Regime

The killing of Qassem Soleimani shows that the U.S. will not be bullied into treating Iran like a normal country.

What happens next?

What happens next?

 Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg

For 40 years American presidents have pondered a fundamental question about Iran, best summed up by Henry Kissinger: Is it a country or a cause? On Thursday evening, Donald Trump gave his answer: Iran is a cause, a terrorist cause, and it will be treated as such.

That could be the lasting implication of the drone strike Trump ordered that killed Iran’s indispensable General Qassem Soleimani. Since Jimmy Carter, U.S. presidents have sanctioned Iran and its leaders for sponsoring terrorist groups responsible for mayhem and murder worldwide. Until Thursday, however, those leaders have been spared the grisly fate of Osama bin Laden or Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi.