China, Russia Pick Sides; Here’s How Rest Of The World Reacted

By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai |

Soleimani’s killing by US airstrike propelled ripples across the world, with the global community concerned over the escalations that might head towards a war.

The US-Iran strains that were otherwise confined to economic sanctions and threats across the wider Middle East, dramatically skyrocketed after Pentagon killed Iran’s revered and reviled military commander Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in Iraq on January 3. The killing that occurred “at the direction” of US President Donald Trump propelled apprehensions across the globe, with the international community concerned over the escalation, that may possibly head towards a war.

Hours after the attack, Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei declared three days of mourning for Soleimani, and, threatened the US saying “a harsh retaliation is waiting.” The recent developments in the Iran-US tensions play a critical point in the geopolitics of the Missle East and the world at large.

Here’s how the international community reacted:


Citing a Revolutionary Guard statement, Iranian state television said Soleimani was “martyred” in an attack by U.S. helicopters near the airport, without elaborating. Soon after, the advisor to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, said that the US must wait for “repercussions” for crossing the “red line.” The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, the officials said.


India in a statement called for calm and restraint over the prevailing situation. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) acknowledging the death of the senior Iranian official, asserted that peace, stability, and security of the region are of utmost significance to New Delhi.  It added that it is vital that the situation does not escalate further.


Ditching its neighbor, Pakistan extended its support to the US after Trump issued back-to-back threats on Twitter. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a tweet notified that he had a conversation with Pakistani Army chief Gen Bajwa. Soleimani for the longest time had accused Islamabad of inciting separatism in Balochistan. Except for Mike Pompeo’s statement, Islamabad has maintained his silence over the issue.


Beijing urged restraint from both sides, “especially from the United States” in a statement.  Xi Jinping’s government said, “We urge the relevant sides, especially the United States, to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions.” Chinese Foreign Minister even told his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, “The dangerous US military operation violates the basic norms of international relations and will aggravate regional tensions and turbulence.”


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressed his concern over the probable rise in violence in the region after Soleimani’s death. He explicitly told the US that “Afghan soil must not be used against a third country or in regional conflict.”

Saudi Arabia 

The Kingdom’s de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman over a telephone conversation discussed the significance of de-escalation with the President of Iraq Barham Saleh. In the telephonic conversation, Iran’s foe, Saudi Arabia told Saleh that Riyadh backs the security and stability of Iraq.


Iraq’s caretaker PM Adel Abdul Mahdi condemning the attack, called the Pentagon strike an “aggression” on Iraq. He further noted that this act would “spark a devastating war.” Moreover, he said that the attack was a “flagrant violation of the conditions authorising the presence of US troops” in Iraq.


Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government in stern words condemned the killing of the top Iranian and Iraqi commanders, calling it a “cowardly aggression.” Soleimani was credited in Syria for strategising in favour of President al-Assad during the civil uprising. Syrian Foreign Ministry official told SANA that Syria is “certain that this cowardly US aggression … will only strengthen the determination to follow in the path of the resistance’s martyred leaders.” It further accused the US of resorting to “methods of criminal gangs.”


Indirectly taking a stand over the strike, Turkish Foreign Ministry asserted that it is against ‘assassination’ and ‘foreign interventions.'”Turkey has always been against foreign interventions, assassinations and sectarian conflicts in the region,” the office of Foreign Ministry said.


Taking a stand against the US attack on Soleimani, Moscow said that the assassination would soar tensions across West Asia. Furthermore, they expressed condolences to Iran. In a statement, Vladimir Putin’s government said, “The killing of Soleimani … was an adventurist step that will increase tensions throughout the region. Soleimani served the cause of protecting Iran’s national interests with devotion. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.”


Trump’s ardent ally in the region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterating the words of the US said that the Western country has a right to defend itself. Issuing a statement, the PM said, “Just as Israel has the right of self-defence, the United States has exactly the same right. Qassem Soleimani is responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks.”


Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman noted that the world is at a “dangerous point of escalation” and urged restraint. Berlin further notified that they were in touch with the European countries including Britain and France to calm the situation. In a statement, Germany said, “We are at a dangerous point of escalation. It is now important through prudence and restraint to contribute to de-escalation”


French President Emmanuel Macron in a telephonic conversation discussed to douse the tensions in the Middle East. Macron’s office in a statement said, “The two presidents agreed to remain in close contact to avoid any further escalation in tensions and in order to act to ensure stability in Iraq and the broader region.” He further discussed the developments with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

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