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UN chief condemns Israeli strike on Iranian consulate, says diplomatic missions must be respected

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Tuesday a strike on an Iranian consular annex building in Syria one day earlier, his spokesman said.

Agencies and A News MIDDLE EAST
Published April 02,2024
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (EPA File photo)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned on Tuesday an Israeli airstrike that targeted an Iranian diplomatic mission in the Syrian capital of Damascus, killing senior Iranian officials.

Guterres also castigated the resulting casualties. He stressed "that the principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected in all cases in accordance with international law," his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

"He also reminds all parties to respect all their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, as applicable. He also repeats his calls on all concerned to avoid attacks that could harm civilians and damage civilian infrastructure," said Dujarric.

"The Secretary-General further calls on all concerned to exercise utmost restraint and avoid further escalation. He cautions that any miscalculation could lead to broader conflict in an already volatile region, with devastating consequences for civilians who are already seeing unprecedented suffering," he added.

Guterres did not attribute blame for the strike, but it has been widely blamed on Israel, which has carried out attacks on Iranian targets in Syria.

The strike Monday is an escalation in that effort as it hit Iran's consulate, a diplomatic facility that enjoys protections under international law.

At least 11 people were killed in the attack, including three from Syria and a Lebanese national.

Among those killed were two generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an elite unit of the Iranian armed forces, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi and his deputy, Gen. Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, along with five IRGC military advisers.

The Iranian mission to the UN called the Israeli airstrike a "cowardly terrorist act" and a "blatant violation of the UN Charter," and called on the Security Council of the global organization to condemn the strike and take action.

The Council is set to convene an open meeting Tuesday at Russia's request to discuss the attack.