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Foreign Minister on US strike: Clouds of war "no good for anyone"

Dialogue between Iran and the US is needed now more than ever, said Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. Image: Lehtikuva

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto has said that he hopes a cycle of violence and revenge will not follow a drone strike by the US that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iranian elite forces responsible for clandestine operations.

The strike that targetted Soleimani took place in Baghdad, Iraq on Thursday night also killed seven other individuals.

"I am above all worried about the situation of ordinary people. These kinds of clouds of war in the heavens mean no good for everyone," Haavisto said.

The minister said that the drone strike indicated that the United States had at its disposal a great deal of intelligence about the movements of the Iranian military leader.

He echoed the sentiments of European Council chair Charles Michel, who said on Twitter that he hoped the situation would not escalate.

"Increased instability in the Middle East is not good news for anyone. The internal situation in Iraq is very delicate. There is a long-running conflict in which civilians have suffered. It’s now possible that the crisis can escalate further," Haavisto commented.

Danger signals visible

EU Foreign Ministers will likely meet to discuss the situation if it continues and deteriorates. However Europe wields little influence in the region.

Haavisto said that dialogue between the United States and Iran is needed now more than ever.

"Middle Eastern countries, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the Saudis could suffer if the situation worsens. I therefore hope that Iran will refrain from continuing the cycle of violence. Otherwise the situation could become something no one wants," he added.

The minister went on to say that danger signals are now visible.

"The difference of opinion between the United States and Europe is that Europe has wanted to maintain a discussion on influencing Iran’s nuclear programme, even in difficult circumstances," he noted.

Haavisto declined to speculate on where Iran might potentially retaliate over the strike.