Jan 6, 2020

Iran crisis: European leaders urge all sides to show restraint

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 in Biarritz, France, on Aug. 24. Photo: Andrew Parsons - Pool/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron issued a joint statement Sunday night, calling for restraint following the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq.

There is now an urgent need for de-escalation. We call on all parties to exercise utmost restraint and responsibility. The current cycle of violence in Iraq must be stopped."
— Statement by Johnson, Merkel and Macron

Driving the news: The leaders issued the statement as tensions continued to escalate in the fallout from the Baghdad airstrike.

  • On Sunday, Iran said it would no longer abide by limits on its uranium enrichment as a consequence of the action and Iraq's parliament voted to call on the Iraqi government to expel U.S. troops from the country.
  • President Trump reacted by doubling down on his threats to attack Iran and warning Iraq he would slap it with sanctions if the U.S. was asked to leave the joint U.S. air base with Iraq.

What they're saying: In their joint statement, Johnson, Merkel and Macron noted "the negative role Iran has played in the region" and called on the country "to refrain from further violent action or proliferation" and to reverse its enrichment plans, but they added that another crisis "risks jeopardizing years of efforts to stabilize Iraq."

  • Johnson revealed he spoke with Trump Sunday about the strike that killed Soleimani and said the general was "responsible for a pattern of disruptive, destabilising behaviour in the region," per the BBC.
  • "It is clear, however, that all calls for retaliation or reprisals will simply lead to more violence in the region and they are in no-one's interest," he added.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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