Many world leaders reacted with alarm to the news of a U.S. airstrike that killed Qassem Soleimani, one of Iran’s top generals.
Leaders of China, Russia and France all expressed concern, according to a report by The Associated Press.
“We are waking up in a more dangerous world. Military escalation is always dangerous,” said France’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Amelie de Montchalin, in an interview with RTL radio.
“When such actions, such operations, take place, we see that escalation is underway,” de Montchalin added.
A Russian Foreign Ministry statement similarly said that “such actions don’t help resolve complicated problems in the Middle East, but instead lead to a new round of escalating tensions.”
China also said that it was “concerned” by the escalation of tensions.
“Peace in the Middle East and the Gulf region should be preserved,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. “We urge all parties concerned, especially the United States, to maintain calm and restraint and avoid further escalation of tensions.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed back on the characterization that the strike made the world less safe in a CNN interview on Friday morning.
“The world’s a much safer place today and I can assure you that Americans in the region are much safer today after the demise of Qasem Soleimani,” he said.
He has also said that the action was in response to “imminent threats to American lives.”
Germany expressed an understanding of the U.S. action following the news of the strike.
German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demme said that it was “a reaction to a whole series of military provocations for which Iran bears responsibility,” according to the AP.
“We are at a dangerous escalation point and what matters now is contributing with prudence and restraint to de-escalation,” she said.
Pompeo said in a series of tweets on Friday that he was speaking with various world leaders about the strike.
Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of the Iranian-backed Iraqi militia Popular Mobilization Forces, were killed at the Baghdad International Airport, Iraqi state TV first reported Thursday.