Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
Image caption Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab released a statement after the incident in Iraq

The UK government has “urged all parties to de-escalate” after the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US air strike in Iraq.

He was killed on Friday in a strike ordered by US President Donald Trump.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK “recognised the aggressive threat” Gen Soleimani posed, but “further conflict is in none of our interests”.

Jeremy Corbyn said the “US assassination” was an “extremely serious and dangerous escalation”.

The Labour leader said the UK “should urge restraint” from both Iran and the US and called for the government to “stand up to the belligerent actions and rhetoric coming from the United States”.

He added: “All countries in the region and beyond should seek to ratchet down the tensions to avoid deepening conflict, which can only bring further misery to the region, 17 years on from the disastrous invasion of Iraq.”

BBC Political Correspondent Jessica Parker said reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was not told in advance of the strike have not been officially confirmed but are not being denied.

The killing of Gen Soleimani marks a major escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “severe revenge awaits the criminals” behind the attack, but a statement from the Pentagon said Gen Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region”.

‘We need to engage’

Other UK MPs have been reacting to the incident on Twitter.

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer echoed the government statement, calling on those involved to “de-escalate tensions and prevent further conflict”, adding: “We need to engage, not isolate Iran.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips, who is expected to announce a bid for the Labour leadership later, tweeted that “reckless foreign policy does not show strength”.

She added: “The consequences of the escalating tensions between the US and Iran are not to be underestimated, not just once again on the civilians in the region but on the whole world.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas made similar comments, calling for the UK government to condemn the killing and “work with colleagues in the US to counter Trump’s reckless and dangerous foreign policy”.

And the deputy leader of Northern Ireland’s Alliance Party, Stephen Farry, said it was “time for cooler heads”.

Labour MP Stella Creasy said Parliament should be recalled so the prime minister or foreign secretary could make an urgent statement to MPs.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned all British nationals to avoid any rallies, marches, or processions in Iran over the three days of national mourning the country has called for Gen Soleimani.


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