For the first interview of 2020, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by Mohammad Marandi, a Tehran University professor in Iran. We start the interview with Mohammad sharing his thoughts about the Iranian response to the U.S. assassination of Iran General Qassim Soleimani. Mohammad describes why Soleimani was and is so revered by Iranians. He talks about the critical role Soleimani played in ensuring the Islamic State did not seize control of Baghdad, Iraq, as well as Damascus, Syria. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, was assassinated in the same strike that killed Soleimani. His assassination received minimal attention in the press. Mohammad talks about Muhandis and what he did for the people of Iraq. Later in the show, Mohammad recalls volunteering at the age of 16 to fight in the Iran-Iraq War. He also discusses the impact of economic sanctions, as well as how the "Resistance Axis" in the Middle East appears to grow stronger with each act of war launched by President Donald Trump's administration.