The world reacted with alarm on Friday after top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. strike in Baghdad, with many governments appealing for restraint.
The attack was praised by U.S. President Donald Trump‘s Republicans and close ally Israel, but elsewhere there were sharp warnings that the killing could spark a devastating regional crisis.
Following are some of the reactions from around the world:
‘Spark a Devastating War’
Iraq’s caretaker prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi said the U.S. strike, which also killed an Iraqi commander, would “spark a devastating war.”
“The assassination of an Iraqi military commander in an official post is an aggression against the country of Iraq, its state, its government, and its people,” he said.
It was a “flagrant violation of the conditions authorizing the presence of U.S. troops” on Iraqi soil.
PM @AdilAbdAlMahdi: The assassinations violate the conditions governing the presence of US forces in Iraq whose role is to train Iraqi forces and assist in the fight against Daesh as part of the Global Coalition, subject to the supervision and approval of the @IraqiGovt.
— Government of Iraq – الحكومة العراقية (@IraqiGovt) January 3, 2020
‘Extremely Dangerous and Foolish’
As the world waits with bated breath to see how Iran will respond, the country’s foreign minister Javad Zarif said the attack was “extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.”
“The U.S. bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” Zarif, one of the key negotiators of the now largely defunct nuclear deal, added.
Tens of thousands are now rallying against the United States in Tehran.
Donald Trump has made sure the people of Iran hate us, and pushed their government into a position where they feel forced to retaliate.
He is unfit to be our Commander in Chief.pic.twitter.com/nvgm1YCnkw
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) January 3, 2020
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly promised “severe revenge” for Soleimani’s death.
Tens of thousands of angry Iranians took to the streets of Tehran chanting “Death to America” and holding up posters of Soleimani, who was widely admired in the Islamic republic.
‘World Cannot Afford’ Another Gulf War
“This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint. The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Friday.
Secretary-General @antonioguterres has consistently advocated for de-escalation in the Gulf. He is deeply concerned with the recent escalation.
This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint. The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf.
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) January 3, 2020
“The secretary-general has consistently advocated for de-escalation in the Gulf,” a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.
“This action can seriously aggravate the situation in the region,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said, according to a Kremlin readout of a phone conversation with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee of parliament’s upper house, said on Facebook the killing was a mistake that would strike back at Washington.
“Retaliatory strikes will certainly follow.”
‘Appeal for Restraint’
“China has always opposed the use of force in international relations,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
“We urge the relevant sides, especially the United States, to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions.”
He said Iraq’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity must be respected.
‘Right’ to Self-Defense
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump “for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively” to eliminate the general.
"Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says as top Iranian general is killed in U.S. airstrike. https://t.co/FS518v5Leu pic.twitter.com/ntIrFFuUIg
— ABC News (@ABC) January 3, 2020
“Just as Israel has the right of self-defense, the United States has exactly the same right.”
‘Meting out Punishment’
“Meting out the appropriate punishment to these criminal assassins … will be the responsibility and task of all resistance fighters worldwide,” the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Shiite militant group, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a statement.
“We will carry a flag on all battlefields and all fronts and we will step up the victories of the axis of resistance with the blessing of his pure blood.”
‘Price of Killing Americans’
“In a display of resolve and strength, we struck the leader of those attacking our sovereign U.S. territories,” top House of Representatives Republican Kevin McCarthy said, referring to a recent attack on Washington’s Baghdad embassy.
“Wow – the price of killing and injuring Americans has just gone up drastically,” tweeted Senator Lindsey Graham, a close confidant of Trump.
Congratulations to all involved in eliminating Qassem Soleimani. Long in the making, this was a decisive blow against Iran's malign Quds Force activities worldwide. Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 3, 2020
‘Could Cost Countless Lives’
But among Democrats, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the killing risks provoking a “dangerous escalation of violence.”
“President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox,” his 202 presidential rival Joe Biden said.
“Iran will surely respond. We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East.”
Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders said the strike was a “dangerous escalation [that] brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.”
‘Threaten Peace and Stability’
“Pakistan has viewed with deep concern the recent developments in the Middle East, which seriously threaten peace and stability in the region,” the foreign ministry said.
“Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity are the fundamental principles of the U.N. Charter, which should be adhered to. It is also important to avoid unilateral actions and use of force.”
The foreign ministry in neighboring India said: “We have noted that a senior Iranian leader has been killed by the U.S. The increase in tension has alarmed the world.”
‘Against Foreign Intervention’
“It is manifest that the operation carried out by the U.S. will increase insecurity and instability in the region … Turkey has always been against any foreign intervention in the region, assassinations, and sectarian conflicts,” the foreign ministry said.
‘World More Dangerous’
“We have woken up to a more dangerous world,” France’s Europe Minister Amelie de Montchalin told French radio.
“In such operations, when we can see an escalation is under way, what we want above all is stability and de-escalation.
“Our role is not to take sides, but to talk with everyone.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said London had “always recognized the aggressive threat” posed by Soleimani and his Quds Force. “Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate. Further conflict is none of our interests.”
The Netherlands also urged de-escalation.
“It is of great importance that tranquility is preserved in the region. Nobody benefits from further escalation,” tweeted Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok whose country has taken part in the anti-IS coalition since 2014.
‘Methods of Criminal Gangs’
Syria is “certain that this cowardly U.S. aggression … will only strengthen determination to follow in the path of the resistance’s martyred leaders,” a foreign ministry official said, according to state news agency SANA.
The official said the killings were “a serious escalation” and accused the U.S. of resorting to “the methods of criminal gangs.”