Saturday , June 22 2024

UK, China, Egypt and Tukey call for de-escalation

20-04-2024

LONDON/ BEIJING/ CAIRO: Countries around the globe have been calling on both Iran and Israel to show restraint after this latest strike, amid fears the conflict could escalate across the region.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak avoids commenting on reports of an Israeli attack on Iran, saying it “wouldn’t be right for me to speculate until the facts become clearer”. He repeats calls for de-escalation: “Significant escalation is not in anyone’s interest. What we want to see is calm heads prevail across the region.”

China also calls for de-escalation. Foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said “China opposes any actions that further escalate tensions and will continue to play a constructive role to de-escalate the situation.”

Egypt, a key player in the mediation efforts between Hamas and Israel, says that they are deeply concerned about an escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran. A foreign ministry statement warned of the consequences of expanding the conflict and instability in the region.

Turkey also calls on all parties to refrain from steps that could lead to a wider conflict. A foreign ministry statement said it was becoming “increasingly obvious” that the tensions between Iran and Israel following the attack on 1 April risked “turning into a permanent conflict”.

Germany pleads for restraint, with the government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit saying “De-escalation must be the advice of the hour, we must prevent a conflagration at all costs,” adding that it goes to “all sides”.

It is not clear what, if anything, was targeted in the overnight Israeli strike in Iran. However, it should not really come as a surprise that explosions were reported in the central province of Isfahan.

Isfahan is the home of several nuclear facilities, including the Isfahan Nuclear Technology Centre and the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

Iran accused Israel of sabotaging the latter in April 2021, when there was an explosion in an underground area that damaged a large number of centrifuges. Israeli media reported at the time that it was an operation by the Mossad intelligence agency.

There are also a number of important military sites in Isfahan, including Shahid Babaei airbase and facilities for the development and production of missiles.

In January 2023, Iran blamed Israel for an attack on what it called a “workshop complex” in the centre Isfahan city, which it said involved three drones and caused minor damage. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time that his country had been “taking action against certain weapons development” in Iran, but he neither confirmed nor denied involvement.

However, Iranians woke up to reports of a “micro drones” attack on a military site in Isfahan, central Iran.

Some western officials with knowledge of Israel’s possible retaliation against Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel believe that this is only “the first stage”.

“The strategy is: Minor attack to make Iran react for a major response on the nuclear sites”, according to a western diplomat in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, a western military official says that based on reports from Syria and Iran indicating that some essential radars were the target of drone strikes in both countries, “Israelis are kind of mirroring Iran and its allies like Hezbollah by first trying to destroy radars, creating false or delusive targets as well as trying to damage the radars to disable interception systems,” they said. (Int’l News Desk)

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