EU’s Von der Leyen, China call for calm following Israeli attacks on Iran

EU’s Von der Leyen, China call for calm following Israeli attacks on Iran
EU’s Von der Leyen calls for calm between Iran and Israel following early morning attacks in Tabriz and Isfahan. / CC: European Commission
By bne Tehran bureau April 19, 2024

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged Israel and Iran to prevent further escalation in the Middle East following an Israeli strike on Iranian territory.

The appeal came amid growing international concerns over the stability of the region as Tel Aviv and Tehran continue to hit each other's sites in recent weeks in an increasingly tense situation for several countries. Israel has reportedly hit two Iranian sites in Isfahan and Tabriz, while a secondary assault occurred in Syria earlier on April 19. 

Von der Leyen stressed the importance of maintaining regional stability and called on all parties to refrain from actions that could provoke additional hostilities. “It is absolutely necessary that the region remains stable and that all parties refrain from further actions,” von der Leyen was quoted by journalists.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also responded to the situation, noting that the Israeli strike did not damage Iran's nuclear facilities. IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi called for maximum restraint from all involved.

Further adding to the diplomatic chorus, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian opposed any actions that could escalate the situation. "China has noted the relevant reports and stands against any actions that may lead to further escalation of the situation," Lin stated during a briefing.

Reports suggest that the Israeli action was a response to an attack from Iran on April 13. Israeli media, citing military sources, reported that the strike was coordinated with the United States, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. These countries reportedly assured support for Israel in case of retaliation from Tehran.

In the meantime, Iranian state media reported that several drones were shot down over the province of Isfahan around 3:00 AM local time, asserting that no missile strikes were conducted on its territory.

The unfolding situation has prompted concerns about potential repercussions for US President Joe Biden, following the Israeli actions, which have been described by US media as "limited" in nature.

The international community continues to monitor the developments closely, hoping for a de-escalation of tensions in the volatile region.