Professor Rudolph Matthee has visited Iran three times in the past five years and can provide a unique perspective on how Iranian citizens might be reacting to the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
As an expert on the country and the Middle East, he can also speak to the prospect of war and some of the strategy at play in the region.
Matthee said Americans have a distorted view of Iran and its citizens. They incorrectly label the country as unstable, and view its citizens through the lens of media coverage – angry mobs chanting "death to America."
"(Suleimani) is a bit of a folk hero. He stands for a proud Iran," Matthee said. "What prevails is a sense of wounded dignity. That's where the chanting comes from, the indignation and the call for revenge."
Although he didn't want to make a prediction, Matthee said he believes the Iranians will not go to war – realizing it is one they cannot win – and will likely play the long game in response to a series of provocations (ripping up the nuclear treaty, moving ships to the Persian Gulf) that reached a head with Suleimani's death.
As the saying goes, "Iran plays chess, we play checkers," he said. "The Trump administration is chaos galore, beginning with the man himself, which makes it very difficult to predict."