EU leaders condemn Iran, urge Israeli restraint

EU leaders condemn Iran, urge Israeli restraint
Опубликовано: Sunday, 14 April 2024 21:01
Israeli Air Force jets — Israel has indicated it won’t strike back immediately after Iran’s overnight drone and missile attack (Photo:

Major Western nations have condemned Iran’s retaliatory strike on Israel, with EU foreign ministers to hold snap talks on Tuesday (16 April) amid fears of escalation.

The G7 group of Western leaders "unanimously condemned" Iran’s air strike on Israel in emergency video-talks on Sunday (14 April), EU Council chairman Charles Michel said.

They also called for "restraint" by "all sides," Michel added, as Israel threatened to strike Iran in return.

The G7 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US. The EU holds an honorary seat in its meetings.

The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, also announced snap video talks by foreign ministers on Tuesday, saying: "Our objective is deescalation and security in the region".

Nato issued a similar statement to the G7, with a spokesman warning on Sunday that "it’s essential the conflict in the Middle East doesn’t become uncontrollable".

The remarks come after Iran launched some 300 drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday night in response to the bombing of its consulate in Syria on 1 April, which Iran blamed on Israel, but which the Israeli government has not admitted to having carried out.

Iran’s air strike on Sunday marked a major escalation in the Gaza war by launching missiles and drones directly from Iranian territory against Israeli territory, in what could lead to a similar Israeli response.

But the Iranian attack was also calibrated to avoid full-scale war.

French, US, UK, and Israeli battleships and air-defences were able to shoot down almost all the Iranian projectiles, which caused no fatalities, but did badly injure a seven-year-old Israeli Arab girl.

Both Israeli and Iranian statements indicated that neither side wanted to go further at this point.

"The matter can be deemed concluded. However, should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe," the Iranian mission to the UN said.

Israel said it would hit back, but at a later time. Israel also briefed senior US officials it wasn’t seeking escalation, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

And regional airlines resumed flights through Lebanese, Jordanian, and Israeli airspace on Sunday evening in a sign of returning calm.

For his part, French president Emmanuel Macron and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen also issued special messages of support to Israel.

"I express my solidarity with the Israeli people and the attachment of France to Israel’s security," said French president Emmanuel Macron.

Von der Leyen said: "I strongly condemn Iran’s blatant and unjustifiable attack on Israel. And I call on Iran and its proxies to immediately cease these attacks."

But Iran also called in the British, French, and German ambassadors in Tehran to sound its complaint on "double standards" — after the three European states had blocked an earlier UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for bombing Iran’s consulate in Syria two weeks ago.