PARIS: World leaders yesterday condemned Iran’s missile attack on Iraqi bases housing US and other foreign troops and urged an end to the escalating confrontation between Tehran and Washington. Iran said it had acted to avenge the US killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani last week, warning it would hit back even harder if Washington responded.
‘All is well’
“All is well!” US President Donald Trump tweeted. “Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!”
‘Refrain from further violence’
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said: “I condemn the Iranian missile attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq. NATO calls on Iran to refrain from further violence.” A NATO official said none of its troops in Iraq had been hurt in the strikes. The alliance had said Tuesday it would take some personnel out of the country for safety reasons.
“Iran should not repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks but should instead pursue urgent de-escalation,” Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned that another war in the Middle East would only benefit the Islamic State group “and other terrorist groups”.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the attack was yet another example of “escalation and increased confrontation”. “It is in no-one’s interest to turn up the spiral of violence even further,” he added, warning that the crisis was hampering the fight against Islamic State. EU foreign ministers will hold emergency talks on the Iran crisis Friday.
‘Restraint and responsibility’
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement: “The priority is more than ever for a de-escalation. “France remains determined to work to ease tensions and is in contact with all the parties to encourage restraint and responsibility.”
‘Logic of dialogue’
Germany called on Iran to end a “spiral” of conflict and condemned the Iranian attack. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters all parties needed to “exercise restraint and to turn away from a logic of escalation and towards a logic of dialogue”. Germany temporarily withdrew 32 of its soldiers from a camp close to Baghdad on Tuesday.
‘Battlefield for warring sides’
Iraq’s President Barham Saleh said he feared “dangerous developments” in the region. “We denounce the Iranian missile bombing that hit military installations on Iraqi territory and renew our rejection of the repeated violation of state sovereignty and the transformation of Iraq into a battlefield for warring sides,” his office said in a statement.
IsraeIi Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned yesterday that Israel would strike a “resounding blow” if attacked by arch foe Iran, as regional tensions soar after the US killing of a top Iranian general. The premier was speaking hours after Iran launched a salvo of missiles on bases in Iraq used by the United States in retaliation for a US drone attack last week that killed a top Iranian commander. “Anyone who attacks us will receive a resounding blow,” Netanyahu said to applause at a Jerusalem conference.
Despite the general’s assassination, Netanyahu said Iran’s regional “destabilization continues and the struggle is continuing apace”. “The state of Israel is the stable anchor in these turbulent waters,” he added. While Israel and Iran remain sworn enemies, Netanyahu said his country was increasingly “getting the recognition of the Arab world because we are strong”. – AFP