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How the world is reacting to US killing of top Iran general

By AFP - Jan 04,2020 - Last updated at Jan 04,2020

Iranians hold posters of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Major General Qassem Soleimani in the capital Tehran on Friday (AFP photo)

PARIS — The world reacted with alarm on Friday after top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US strike in Baghdad, with many governments appealing for restraint.

The attack was praised by US President Donald Trump's Republicans and close ally Israel, but elsewhere there were sharp warnings it could inflame regional tensions.

Following are some of the reactions from around the world:

'Terminated' 

US President Donald Trump said Soleimani was "terminated" when he was on the verge of attacking US diplomats but insisted that Washington is not seeking to topple Iran's government.

But among Democrats, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the killing risks provoking a "dangerous escalation of violence".

"President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox," his 2020 presidential rival Joe Biden said.

 

'Aggravate situation' 

 

"This action can seriously aggravate the situation in the region," Russian President Vladimir Putin said, according to a Kremlin readout of a phone conversation with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

 

'Cannot afford another war' 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned of the need to avoid war in the Gulf.

"This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint. The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf," a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.

 

'Remain calm' 

"China has always opposed the use of force in international relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

"We urge the relevant sides, especially the United States, to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions."

He said Iraq's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity must be respected.

 

'Spark a devastating war' 

Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi said the US strike, which also killed an Iraqi commander, would "spark a devastating war".

"The assassination of an Iraqi military commander in an official post is an aggression against the country of Iraq, its state, its government and its people," he said.

It was a "flagrant violation of the conditions authorising the presence of US troops" on Iraqi soil, he added.

 

'Cycle of violence' 

"The current cycle of violence in Iraq must be stopped before it spirals out of control," EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

"The EU calls on all the actors involved and on those partners who can have an influence to exercise maximum restraint and show responsibility in this crucial moment."

 

'Right' to self-defence 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump "for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively" to eliminate the general.

"Just as Israel has the right of self-defence, the United States has exactly the same right."

 

'Will not be forgotten'  

The Syrian regime condemned the killing and heaped praise on the Iranian general.

The Syrian people "will not forget that he stuck by the side of the Syrian Arab army", Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a letter of condolences sent to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

 

'Avoid aggravating situation' 

 

Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia cautioned against "anything that could aggravate the situation" while the foreign ministers of Bahrain and Qatar also called for "restraint".

 

'Meting out punishment'  

"Meting out the appropriate punishment to these criminal assassins... will be the responsibility and task of all resistance fighters worldwide," the leader of Lebanon's Hizbollah Shiite militant group, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a statement.

"We will carry a flag on all battlefields and all fronts and we will step up the victories of the axis of resistance with the blessing of his pure blood."

 

'Threaten peace and stability'

"Pakistan has viewed with deep concern the recent developments in the Middle East, which seriously threaten peace and stability in the region," the foreign ministry said.

"Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity are the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, which should be adhered to. It is also important to avoid unilateral actions and use of force."

The foreign ministry in neighbouring India said: "We have noted that a senior Iranian leader has been killed by the US. The increase in tension has alarmed the world."

 

'Against foreign intervention' 

"It is manifest that the operation carried out by the US will increase insecurity and instability in the region... Turkey has always been against any foreign intervention in the region, assassinations and sectarian conflicts," the foreign ministry said.

 

'Act with restraint' 

French President Emmanuel Macron urged restraint after Soleimani's killing.

In his telephone call with Putin, Macron said there should be no "new dangerous escalation of tensions" and "called on all the parties to act with restraint", the Elysee said.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said London had "always recognised the aggressive threat" posed by Soleimani and his Quds Force. "Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate. Further conflict is in none of our interests."

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