European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles has invited Iran's Foreign Affairs Minister Javad Zarif to Brussels to discuss the current situation in the country. The recent escalations have intensified the already tense relations between the US and the Iran after Washington-directed strike killed Iran's top commander General Qassem Soleimani along with others. The EU released a statement on January 5 after Zarif and Borrell spoke on the phone.
According to the EU's official website, "Josep Borrell invited the Iranian Foreign Minister to Brussels to continue their engagement on these matters."
Borrell had previously also made a statement about his phonecall with Zarif on January 4 and 'underlined need for de-escalation of tensions and exercise restraint'.
The two leaders also discussed the importance of The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or the Iran nuclear deal. The killing of Soleimani has raised concerns worldwide over Iran's retaliation to the US air raid. The European Union called on Iran to 'carefully consider any reaction' to the situation in the Middle East and the preservation of a nuclear deal with Tehran.
Spoke w Iranian FM @JZarif about recent developments. Underlined need for de-escalation of tensions, to exercise restraint & avoid further escalation. Also discussed importance of preserving #JCPOA, which remains crucial for global security. I am committed to role as coordinator.— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) January 4, 2020
Security measures have been enhanced in the US, who have ordered scaling back of operations by US-led coalition in Iraq. The US embassy in Baghdad has 'urged' its citizens to leave the country fearing retaliation from Iran and its allies over the recent killings.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had reportedly warned of 'severe revenge for the criminals who bloodied their foul hands with his blood'. Khamenei further said that Soleimani's work and his path will not be stopped.
United States President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has shrugged the threats from Iran and said that 'the US wants no more threats' and that Iran 'will be hit very hard'. Trump had previously said in first comments after the strike that Soleimani was directly or indirectly responsible for many deaths and he had made 'death of innocent people his sick passion'. However, on the contrary, grief and anger has mounted on Iraqis who called Soleimani as 'martyred' and chanted 'Death to America'.
....targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020