“The current cycle of violence in Iraq must be stopped before it spirals out of control. 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. Another crisis risks jeopardizing years of efforts to stabilise Iraq. Furthermore, the ongoing escalation threatens the whole region, which has suffered immensely and whose populations deserve life in peace” says the statement of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell (Pictured).
“More dialogue and efforts to enhance mutual understanding are necessary to offer long term solutions to the stabilisation of the Middle East. The EU stands ready to continue its engagement with all sides in order to contribute to defusing tensions and reverse the dynamics of the conflict.”
Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter page that he spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif about recent developments in Iraq, underlining the need for de-escalation of tensions, to exercise restraint and avoid further escalation. The diplomats have also discussed importance of preserving JCPOA, which remains “crucial for global security“.
“I am committed to role as coordinator” Borrell confirmed.
Top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was assassinated on December 3 in a US pointed strike on Baghdad’s international airport in a dramatic escalation of tensions between the two countries.
President Trump ordered an airstrike, assassinating Iran’s most powerful general in the early hours on December 3, in a dramatic escalation of power struggle between Washington and Tehran for influence across Middle Est.
Qassem Suleimani was hit by the drone strike while local allies from the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) drove him from Baghdad airport. The de facto leader of the PMU, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a close Suleimani associate, was also killed in the attack.
General Suleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” a Pentagon statement announced. “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
The White House has issued a statement saying the strike was a “decisive defensive action” carried out “at the direction of the president”.
Reportedly the protesters, among which the majority are the militia fighters, enraged by U.S. air strikes on Iraq staged a violent demonstration outside the American Embassy in Baghdad at New Year eve, setting ablaze a security post and hurling stones as security forces. The embassy guards retaliated with stun grenades and tear gas.
Iraqi officials said the ambassador, the diplomats and the staff had been evacuated, but this could not be confirmed with American officials, according to Reuters news agency.
In Washington, President Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the violence and underlining that Tehran would be held responsible.
AMENDED: Image source social media.