Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 25th, 2020

UK Urges Iran to ‘Take Diplomatic Route’

UK Urges Iran to ‘Take  Diplomatic Route’

LONDON - British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Sunday urged Iran to "take a diplomatic route" to de-escalate rising tensions following the killing of Iranian general Qasem Suleimani by a U.S. strike.
Speaking on the BBC, Raab said U.S. President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron "left the door open to a diplomatic route through this, to a better place for Iran", but that Tehran decided "not to take it".
He stressed the need to "de-escalate the tensions and try and restore some stability" as well as to contain Iran's "nefarious actions".
"Iran has for a long period been engaged in menacing, de-stabilising activities," he added.
Raab on Sunday spoke separately to Sky News, saying the U.K. was "on the same page" with the U.S. in relation to Friday's killing of Suleimani.
"Let’s be very clear: he was a regional menace, and we understand the position that the Americans found themselves in, and they have a right to exercise self-defence," Raab said.
"They have explained the basis on which that was done, and we are sympathetic to the situation they found themselves in," he added.
Meanwhile, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated the travel advice to Iraq for British citizens.
"The first job of any government is to keep British people safe," Raab said an a statement.
He added that given "heightened tensions" in the region, the FCO advised U.K. nationals not to travel to Iraq, with the exception of the Kurdish regional government, and to "consider carefully whether it’s essential to travel to Iran".
"We will keep this under review," Raab said.
Two British warships are on their way to the Persian Gulf to "protect" ships and citizens, Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace announced Saturday.
"Under international law the United States is entitled to defend itself against those posing an imminent threat to their citizens," Wallace said.
The U.K. Royal Navy escorted British-flagged vessels through the Straight of Hormuz in July 2019, following Iran's seizure a British-flagged ship.
The seizure came in retaliation of the seizure of an Iranian-flagged tanker near Gibraltar, a British territory.
Tension between U.S. and Iran mounted after the killing of top Iranian commander Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, when a U.S. drone struck his convoy outside Baghdad's airport on Friday.
On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to strike Iranian targets in response to any retaliation on U.S. nationals or assets. (AA)