Nearly 50 nations condemn Iran’s attack on Israel, call for de-escalation


April 18, 2024


Nearly 50 nations condemn Iran’s attack on Israel, call for de-escalation

Iranian army members march during Army Day parade at a military base in northern Tehran, Iran, April 17, 2024. In the parade, President Ebrahim Raisi warned that the "tiniest invasion" by Israel would bring a "massive and harsh" response/AP

WASHINGTON: Nearly 50 countries issued a statement late Wednesday condemning Iran’s missile and drone attacks on Israel, calling on parties in the region to work to prevent the situation from escalating further, and pledging to cooperate diplomatically on efforts to resolve tensions in the Middle East.

The statement came from the permanent representatives to the United Nations from Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and the United States.

“We note that Iran’s escalatory attack is the latest in a pattern of dangerous and destabilizing actions by Iran and its militant partners that pose a grave threat to international peace and security,” the statement said.

Israel will decide on its own how to respond to Iran’s weekend attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, even as Western countries asked for restraint to avoid all-out Middle East warfare.

The United States, European Union and the G7 group of industrialized nations all announced plans to consider tighter sanctions on Iran, a move aimed at supporting Israel and at the same time persuading it to rein in its intention to retaliate against Tehran.

Netanyahu met with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock. Both officials traveled to Israel as part of a Western attempt to keep the Israel-Iran confrontation from escalating further, on top of the Israeli war against Hamas militants in Gaza, which is now in its seventh month.

Netanyahu’s office said he thanked Cameron and Baerbock for their support, while telling them, “I want to make it clear – we will make our own decisions, and the State of Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself.”

Earlier, Cameron said it was now apparent Israel planned to retaliate for the hundreds of missiles and drones Iran aimed at Israel, almost all of which Israel and its allies shot down. Tehran launched the Saturday attack in response to a presumed April 1 Israeli airstrike that killed military officers at Iran’s embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Baerbock said escalation “would serve no one, not Israel’s security, not the many dozens of hostages still in the hands of Hamas, not the suffering population of Gaza, not the many people in Iran who are themselves suffering under the regime, and not the third countries in the region who simply want to live in peace.”

Israel says it must retaliate to preserve its credibility.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, speaking at an annual military parade on the outskirts of Tehran, warned against Israel retaliating, saying Iran would follow with a “massive and harsh response.”

Since Hamas fighters triggered the war in Gaza by attacking southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and leading to the capture of about 250 hostages, clashes have erupted between Israel and Iran-supported groups based in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

Inside Gaza, Israel’s counteroffensive has killed nearly 34,000 people, two-thirds of them women and children, Gaza health officials say. Israel says the death toll includes thousands of Hamas fighters.

Senior U.S. officials have said the Iranian attack on Israel, the first launched from Iranian soil, involved more than 110 ballistic missiles, 30 cruise missiles and more than 150 one-way, explosive aerial drones.

They said Iranian proxy forces in Iraq, Syria and Yemen also took part in the attack.

Iran has called Sunday’s aerial assault a one-off event carried out in retaliation for the attack on its consulate in Damascus.

The Israeli war cabinet has met repeatedly in recent days to debate Israel’s response options.