Dominic Raab calls for calm after America assassinates Iranian military leader

Posted On: 
3rd January 2020

Dominic Raab has called for a "de-escalation" of tensions in the Middle East after the United States assassinated Iran's most senior military leader.

Qasem Soleimani was Iran's most powerful military commander.
PA Images

General Qasem Soleimani, the head of his country's elite Quds Force, was killed by a drone strike at Baghdad Airport.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said "severe revenge awaits the criminals" behind the killing, while Russia has accused Donald Trump of "crossing a red line" by authorising the deadly strike.

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In a statement, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "We have always recognised 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."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said General Soleimani's assassination was "an extremely serious and dangerous escalation of conflict in the Middle East with global significance".

He said: "The UK government should urge restraint on the part of both Iran and the US, and stand up to the belligerent actions and rhetoric coming from the United States.

"All countries in the region and beyond should seek to ratchet down the tensions to avoid deepening conflict, which can only bring further misery to the region, 17 years on from the disastrous invasion of Iraq."

Qasem Soleimani's death marks a major escalation in the growing tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The drone strike came just days after the US accused the military leader of approving an attack on the US embassy in Baghdad by protesters.

The Pentagon said General Soleimani had been "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region".

"This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans," it added.