From full support to absolute condemnation, leaders from across the world have reacted with a wide degree of variation
The US drone strike resulting in the death of senior Iranian General Qasem Suleimani has given rise to widely differing reactions from world leaders.
Soleimani was killed near the Baghdad airport in Iraq shortly after arriving in the capital on January 3.
The attack was ordered by US President Trump.
Iran regarded the assassination of Qasem Soleimani as an “act of war”, and its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said that “the United States will pay the price for the death of Soleimani in the most cruel way.”
In Iran, mourning processions of tens of thousands of people have been held in the streets.
The global media is discussing possible consequences of the attack, including possible terrorist attacks and the possible outbreak of war in the region. On Twitter, the hashtags #WorldWar3 and #WWIII are gaining popularity.
Below: how the states of the South Caucasus have reacted, and the reaction of the world community at large.
Armenia: “a new threat to peace” has arisen
“We are deeply concerned about the recent events in Baghdad, which also led to human casualties. They can further increase the threat to peace in the region and destabilize the situation in the Middle East and beyond. Armenia is in favor of defusing the situation exclusively by peaceful means,” the statement of the Armenian Foreign Ministry said.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on his Facebook page advised “homegrown politicians who want to spread panic…to sit quietly in their places.”
Azerbaijan: Condolences to Iran over the death of General Soleimani
On January 4, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Javad Zarif discussed over the telephone issues of growing tension in light of recent events in the region.
“The Azerbaijani side calls on all parties involved to refrain from violence and to be committed to commitments to strengthen regional security. Minister Mammadyarov expressed deep condolences to the leadership and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran over the death of General Soleimani,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Ilkin Rustamzade, an activist of the Nida youth movement, wrote on his Facebook page about “the strong and terrible influence of Iranian agents and propaganda in Azerbaijan.”
“There are many supporters of Iran who dream under the guise of democracy to bring medieval darkness to our country. Watch carefully.”
Georgia: “The United States has the legal right to protect its citizens”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry did not make an official statement, but Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani wrote on his Twitter:
“We condemned the recent violent provocative attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad. The United States has a legal right to protect its citizens. It is also time for diplomacy to … ease tensions.”
Georgian political scientist Tengiz Pkhaladze suggested in an interview with Radio Liberty that the threat of terrorist attacks against the United States has now grown:
“Terrorist attacks can be committed against Americans in any country, and Georgia can also be considered one of these places. Therefore, Georgia needs to strengthen anti-terrorism measures.”
Iraq: “America violated the conditions under which its military was in Iraq”
Prime Minister Adele Abdul-Mahdi called the attack on the Iranian general “a violation of the conditions for the US military in Iraq.”
Iraqi President Barham Salih called on compatriots to unity with the goal of “avoiding a new wave of bloodshed after decades of violence.”
Israel: “Trump deserves support”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu interrupted his official visit to Greece over the death of Soleimani.
He said Trump “deserves support for quick, energetic, and decisive action.”
China: “It is important to prevent further escalation”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed “deep concern“, called on all parties, and especially the United States, to remain “calm and balanced” and warned against further escalation of tension.
China is Iran’s consistent ally and opponent of the presence of US troops in Iraq.
In December 2019, its navy joined the first joint exercises of Iran and Russia in the Indian Ocean.
France: “We must avoid military escalation”
France was the first among European countries to react to the death of Soleimani. Deputy Foreign Minister Amelie de Montchalin told RTL Radio:
“We wake up in a more dangerous world. Escalation is in full swing, and military escalation is always dangerous.”
Germany: “The United States reacted to the provocations of Iran, but the escalation reached a dangerous point”
German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said the United States “reacted to a series of military provocations for which Iran is responsible,” referring to the attacks on tankers and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
At the same time, she emphasized that the situation in the Middle East has reached a “dangerous point of escalation”, and conflicts in the region can only be resolved through diplomatic means.
UK: “We recognized the danger posed by General Soleimani”
The UK government called for restraint, but Foreign Secretary Raab said:
“We have always recognized the danger posed by the Quds unit under the leadership of General Soleimani.”
Russia: “Venture of the USA”
The Russian Foreign Ministry unequivocally condemned the killing of Soleimani and said that this would increase tension throughout the Middle East.
An unnamed diplomat at the Foreign Ministry told TASS news agency that the United States had taken an “adventurous step.”
The head of the State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev, wrote on his Facebook page that “Iran may now accelerate the creation of nuclear weapons now, even if it did not plan to do so before.”
USA: “Irresponsible Killing” or “Strong Defensive Action”?
American politicians in their assessments of the situation were divided by party affiliation.
Leaders of the Republican Party to which President Trump belongs rated this special operation as a “decisive defensive action.”
The leaders of the opposition Democratic Party have for the most part called Soleimani’s murder “irresponsible.”
Trump himself said that the attack against Soleimani was undertaken with the aim of “preventing war.”