The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) chief Jens Stoltenberg warned Iran against ‘further violence and provocations’ saying a new conflict would be in no-one’s interest. Stoltenberg chaired a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, on January 6, amid heightened tensions in the aftermath of top Iranian military commander’s death.
Stoltenberg said that the United States briefed about the “regional situation” following the recent attacks on coalition forces that killed service members and retaliatory action that killed Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani. While Iraq recently asked foreign military forces to leave its soil amid soaring tensions, NATO chief said that they are helping to train forces and prevent the return of ISIS, adding they have suspended training on the ground for time being.
“At our meeting today, Allies expressed their strong support for the fight against ISIS and for the NATO mission in Iraq,” said Stoltenberg in a statement.
“ NATO is prepared to continue our training and capacity-building when the situation permits. We remain strongly committed to the fight against international terrorism,” he added.
As Iran exited from the 2015 nuclear deal and announced to speed up its uranium enrichment programme, NATO allies agreed that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon. The Council also blamed Iran for escalation mentioning the strike on a Saudi energy facility, and the shoot-down of an American drone.
In the latest development in US-Iran deteriorating relations, the Iranian parliament approved a motion to designate the US Military and Department of Defense as ‘terrorist organisations’. Iran’s private news agency reported that the designation is in response to the assassination of their top military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Last year, the United States had designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The Trump administration said that IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft. “The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” the White House had said in a statement.