World urges ‘de-escalation’ after drones shot down over Iran

Escalation more than six months into Israel’s war on Gaza has raised fears of spiralling violence across region.

The Iranian flag flutters outside the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria [File: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters]Published On 19 Apr 202419 Apr 2024

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Updated: 
42 minutes ago

Iran fired air defence batteries to shoot down three drones over the central city of Isfahan, according to state media reports, after officials in the United States told US broadcasters that Israel carried out military operations against Iran.

Explosions were reported on Friday in the sky over the cities of Isfahan and Tabriz, but the Iranian government has downplayed the incident.

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There has been no official comment from Israel. Several countries have called for “de-escalation”. Here are some reactions:

Oman

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said Oman “condemns the Israeli attack this morning on Isfahan in the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

It also “condemns and denounces Israel’s repeated military attacks in the region”, the statement said.

The Gulf country has long mediated between Iran and Western countries.

Egypt

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Egypt was “deeply concerned” about an escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran.

Egypt also warned of the consequences of expanding the conflict and instability in the region.

Italy

Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani called for an “absolute de-escalation”.

“We invite everyone to be cautious to avoid an escalation,” he told RAI news from the Italian island of Capri, where Italy is hosting a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations.

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “It’s a developing situation, it wouldn’t be right for me to speculate until the facts become clearer and we’re working to confirm the details together with allies.

“Significant escalation is not in anyone’s interest. What we want to see is calm heads prevail across the region.”

European Union

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called for restraint to avoid further escalation in the Middle East.

“We have to do everything possible [so] that all sides restrain from the escalation in that region,” she told reporters during a visit to Finland.

“It is absolutely necessary that the region stays stable and that all sides refrain from further action.”

The Netherlands

Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said the Netherlands is “closely monitoring the situation in Iran”.

“The recent developments in the Middle East are deeply worrying. It is of paramount importance that further escalation is prevented,” Bruins Slot added on X.

China

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said China “has noted the relevant reports and opposes any actions that further escalate tensions”.

Japan

Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said: “Japan is deeply concerned about the situation in the Middle East and strongly condemn any actions that lead to the escalation of the situation.

“Japan will continue to make all necessary diplomatic efforts to prevent the situation from worsening further.”

Canada

“We are monitoring the situation closely. We will address the situation with the foreign ministers at the G7 session this morning in Italy,” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on X.

France

Deputy foreign minister Jean-Noel Barrot said France’s “position is to call on all actors for de-escalation and restraint”.

Ben Saul, UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights

“Israel’s latest strikes on Iran are another violation of the prohibition on the use of military force under international law & the UN Charter, and threaten the human right to life.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies