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World Reactions To Soleimani Killing Either Urge Restraint Or Call For Revenge

Qassem Soleimani, Commander of Iran's Qods Force. FILE photo

The killing of a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad early Friday morning, in a U.S. airstrike authorized by President Trump, has triggered a series of mixed reactions around the world.

While most countries have urged restraint, Iran's proxy allies have called for avenging the death of their mentor and financier.

China and Russia, which along with European powers, have struggled to keep a four-year-old nuclear deal with Tehran alive since Washington withdrew in 2018, were quick to warn against military intervention to resolve disputes.

Beijing decried "the use of force in international relations" and said Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected, according to the AFP news agency.

"We urge the relevant sides, especially the United States, to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on January 3.

"We regard the killing of Soleimani as a result of an American missile strike on the outskirts of Baghdad as a reckless step which could lead to a growth of tensions across the region," the Russian Foreign Ministry said, according to Interfax.

French Junior Foreign Minister Amelie de Montchalin told RTL radio that "We have woken up to a more dangerous world."

President Emanuel Macron responded later, calling for "restraint", and asserting that he wants to "avoid a new dangerous escalation."

U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also called on "all parties to de-escalate."

"Further conflict is in none of our interests," he said in a statement, admitting, "We have always recognized the aggressive threat posed by the Iranian Quds force led by Qasem Soleimani. Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate. Further conflict is in none of our interests," he said in an emailed statement.

Germany cautioned that the situation in the Middle East has reached "a dangerous escalation point" and that conflicts in the region can only be resolved diplomatically.

German government spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, described the U.S. move as a reaction to a "whole series of military provocations for which Iran bears responsibility," pointing to the recent attacks on oil tankers and on Saudi Aramco oil facilities.

President of the European Council, Charles Michel, urged all parties involved to avoid further escalation "at all cost." He said the risk of the recent cycle of violence in Iraq "is a generalized flare-up of violence in the whole region."

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a statement, insisted that this is a moment in which leaders "must exercise maximum restraint."

"The world cannot afford another war in the (Persian) Gulf," Guterres warned.

Agnès Callamard, French Human Rights expert and Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, tweeted, "The targeted killings of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis are most likely unlawful and violate international human rights law: Outside the context of active hostilities, the use of drones or other means for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal."

Meanwhile, the reaction to killing the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Soleimani in the region was also mixed.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, cut short a trip to Greece following news of the Soleimani killing to follow "ongoing developments," his office said.

Israel regards Iran's Qods Force as the prime mover behind a network of anti-Israeli adversaries and has repeatedly targeted the Iranian unit's presence in Syria.

"Just as Israel has the right of self-defense, the United States has exactly the same right. Qasem Soleimani is responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks," Netanyahu later tweeted.

In a Foreign Ministry statement, NATO member Turkey said that it was "deeply concerned about the escalating U.S.-Iranian tension" and warned the U.S. operation "will increase the insecurity and instability in the region."

Ankara urged "all parties to act in common sense and sobriety, to avoid unilateral steps that would jeopardize the peace and stability of our region and to prioritize diplomacy."

Iraqi President, Barham Salih, urged Iraqis to remain united to spare the country more violence after decades of bloodshed.

In the meantime, Iran-backed Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi lambasted Friday the killing of Soleimani as 'breach of Iraq's sovereignty.'

"This act may lead to a war in Iraq, the region and the world," Abdul-Mahdi said in a written statement.

Iraq's deputy parliament speaker says an emergency parliament session is set for Saturday to discuss the U.S. airstrike.

The Syrian government on Friday condemned the U.S. killing overnight in Baghdad of top Iranian and Iraqi commanders and accused Washington of trying to fuel conflict in the Middle East.

While Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said General Soleimani's support for the Syrian army "would not be forgotten," the country's foreign ministry asserted the attack reaffirms the U.S. responsibility for the instability in Iraq as part of its policy to "create tensions and fuel conflicts in the countries of the region."

Iran Supreme Leader visiting family of General Soleimani on Friday evening to offer condolences.
Iran Supreme Leader visiting family of General Soleimani on Friday evening to offer condolences.

The Lebanese Hezbollah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, called for the death of Soleimani to be avenged.

"Meting out the appropriate punishment to these criminal assassins --- will be the responsibility and task of all resistance fighters worldwide," Hassan Nasrallah said in a statement, echoing statements made in Iran.

"We who stayed by his side will follow in his footsteps and strive day and night to accomplish his goals," Nasrallah said.

The pro-Tehran Palestinian Hamas group on Friday also lamented the killing of Soleimani.

"Hamas mourns commander Soleimani and the Iraqi martyrs who were killed today by a U.S. airstrike," Hamas said in a statement, conveying condolences to the Iranian people.

"We condemn such U.S. policy of insolence and the continued U.S. crimes which aim at creating chaos in the region for the benefit of the Zionist enemy (Israel)," the group said.

The statement vowed to hold the U.S. responsible for the repercussions of the killing in the entire region.

UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Mohammad Gargash, tweeted on Friday, "In light of the rapid regional developments, it is necessary to put wisdom, balance and political solutions above confrontation and escalation."

Afghan President Office said in a statement that Kabul is deeply concerned over the possibility of escalation of violence, following the U.S. airstrike that killed Soleimani.

"We plead with our great neighbor Iran, with which we have a common religion, cultural, historical, and linguistic identity, and also appeal to our fundamental and strategic counterpart, the United States of America, to avoid escalating tensions," President Ashraf Ghani's office said in the statement.

Meanwhile, the statement hoped that Tehran and Washington would address their dispute through negotiation.

Furthermore, the statement has assured Afghans and all neighboring governments that it would never allow the soil of Afghanistan used against any foreign country.