UN chief calls for restraint after Iran’s retaliatory attacks on Israel

April 15 - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for maximum restraint after Iran's retaliatory attacks on Israel over the latter's deadly assault on the Iranian consulate in Syria.

"The Middle East is on the brink. The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate. Now is the time for maximum restraint," he told an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

According to the latest reports, Iran on Saturday launched hundreds of drones and missiles from its territory toward Israel, with most intercepted. Several missiles reportedly struck within Israeli territory, one of which damaged an Israeli military facility in the south of the country. Overall, a few civilians were injured, said Guterres.

Iran's permanent representative to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani, in a letter to the president of the Security Council, stated that Iran's action was taken "in response to the Israeli recurring military aggressions, particularly its armed attack on April 1, 2024, against Iranian diplomatic premises (in Damascus)."

Guterres reminded all member states that the UN Charter prohibits the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state and that the principle of inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected in all cases in accordance with international law.

"It's time to step back from the brink. It is vital to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East," said Guterres. "Civilians are already bearing the brunt and paying the highest price."

The international community has a shared responsibility to actively engage all parties concerned to prevent further escalation, to secure an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid, he said.

The international community also has a shared responsibility to stop violence in the occupied West Bank, de-escalate the situation along the Lebanon-Israel border, and re-establish safe navigation in the Red Sea, he said.

"We have a shared responsibility to work for peace. Regional, and indeed global, peace and security are being undermined by the hour. Neither the region nor the world can afford more war," he said.

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