UK urges restraint as US-Iran tensions escalate, but blames Tehran's 'aggressive behaviour'

UK urges restraint as US-Iran tensions escalate, but blames Tehran's 'aggressive behaviour'
UK's defence secretary Ben Wallace has urged restraint as tensions rise between the United States and Iran.
2 min read
07 January, 2020
Ben Wallace has urged restraint [Getty]

The UK's defence secretary on Tuesday urged Iranian leaders to refrain from retaliating against the US after the killing of Tehran's highest-renowed commander Qasem Soleimani in an American drone attack.

Ben Wallace appealed for calm even as he told the House of Commons that Iran's "aggressive behaviour" such as hijacking civilian ships "was never going to go unchallenged".

Nonetheless, further conflict is in no one's interest, he insisted.

"Her Majesty's Government urges Iran to return to the normal behavior of the country it aspires to be and resist the urge to retaliate."

Outgoing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged Wallace on whether US actions were legal, which was brushed off by Wallace, who urged it was up to the US to explain its decision.

Read also: The significance of Qasem Soleimani’s assassination

"From the information and intelligence that I have seen, what I could say is that it is clear there was a case for self-defence to be made about an individual who had come to Iraq to co-ordinate murder and attacks on US citizens," he said.

Wallace said urgent measures were being taken to protect British national and interests and in the Middle East. 

"Our commitment to Iraq's stability and sovereignty is unwavering and we urge the Iraqi government to ensure the coalition is able to continue our work countering this shared threat," he said.

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