The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has called for calm over the looming conflict between the United States of America and Iran over the killing of an Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how Mr Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Forces, was killed in an airstrike at the Baghdad International Airport, Iraq.
Mr Soleimani was killed alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, also called Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) in Iraq.
The Pentagon confirmed that President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike.
“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the Pentagon said in a statement circulated on Twitter Friday morning.
Iran has condemned the attack and vowed to retaliate.
The Iraqi government has also condemned the attack. Both the U.S. and Iran have a lot of influence in Iraq.
Influential Iraqi Shiite clerics and leaders, allied to Iran, have also condemned the attack, with many fearing there might be attacks on ordinary American citizens in Iraq.
The U.S. has already asked its citizens to leave the region as a preemptive measure.
In the U.S., there have been mixed reactions with Republican senators commending the killing while influential Democrats condemned it.
After the attack, Israel, a major U.S. ally, said it was increasing its defences in its borders with Lebanon and Syria.
UN wades in
In a statement by the spokesman for the Secretary-General released Friday, it said the official ”has consistently advocated for de-escalation in the Gulf’.”
The official said Mr Guterres is deeply concerned with the recent escalation.
According to him, ”this is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint.”
“The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf,” he added.