World urges ‘de-escalation’ after drones shot down over Iran

Escalation more than six months into Israel’s war on Gaza has raised fears of spiralling violence across region.

Iran fired air defence batteries to shoot down three drones over the central city of Isfahan, according to state media reports, after officials in the United States told US broadcasters that Israel carried out military operations against Iran.

Explosions were reported on Friday in the sky over the cities of Isfahan and Tabriz, but the Iranian government has downplayed the incident.

There has been no official comment from Israel. Several countries have called for “de-escalation”. Here are some reactions:


A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said Oman “condemns the Israeli attack this morning on Isfahan in the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

It also “condemns and denounces Israel’s repeated military attacks in the region”, the statement said.

The Gulf country has long mediated between Iran and Western countries.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Egypt was “deeply concerned” about an escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran.

Egypt also warned of the consequences of expanding the conflict and instability in the region.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on all sides to refrain from steps that could lead to a wider conflict in the Middle East.

It said in a statement that priority of the international community should be “to stop the massacre in Gaza and to ensure lasting peace” in the region by establishing a Palestinian state.

“It is becoming increasingly evident that the tensions that were initially caused by Israel’s illegal attack on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus risk turning into a permanent conflict,” it added.


Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Israeli-Iranian retaliations must end, warning against the danger of regional escalation.


“We call for the scale of the engagement against the [Israeli] occupation to be expanded in response to the war of genocide in Gaza and the escalation in the region,” Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said.


In a statement, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry expressed “deep concern about the attack that targeted the city of Isfahan”, according to the official Iraqi News Agency.

“The escalation must not distract attention from the destruction and loss of innocent lives taking place in Gaza,” the ministry added.


Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani called for an “absolute de-escalation”.

“We invite everyone to be cautious to avoid an escalation,” he told RAI news from the Italian island of Capri, where Italy is hosting a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) nations.


The G7 foreign ministers urged “all parties” to “work to prevent further escalation” in the Middle East.

“In light of reports of strikes on April 19th, we urge all parties to work to prevent further escalation. The G7 will continue to work to this end,” they said in a statement.

United Nations

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “it is high time to stop the dangerous cycle of retaliation in the Middle East”, according to a statement from his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

The UN chief “condemns any act of retaliation and appeals to the international community to work together to prevent any further development that could lead to devastating consequences for the entire region and beyond”, the statement read.

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “It’s a developing situation, it wouldn’t be right for me to speculate until the facts become clearer and we’re working to confirm the details together with allies.

“Significant escalation is not in anyone’s interest. What we want to see is calm heads prevail across the region.”

European Union

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called for restraint to avoid further escalation in the Middle East.

“We have to do everything possible [so] that all sides restrain from the escalation in that region,” she told reporters during a visit to Finland.

“It is absolutely necessary that the region stays stable and that all sides refrain from further action.”

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The United Nations nuclear watchdog confirmed that “there is no damage to Iran’s nuclear sites”. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi called for extreme restraint and said nuclear facilities should never be a target in military conflicts.

The IAEA “is monitoring the situation very closely,” it said on X.

The Netherlands

Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said the Netherlands is “closely monitoring the situation in Iran”.

“The recent developments in the Middle East are deeply worrying. It is of paramount importance that further escalation is prevented,” Bruins Slot added on X.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said China “has noted the relevant reports and opposes any actions that further escalate tensions”.


Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned against further escalation in the Middle East.

“Everyone must ensure now and in the near future that there is no further escalation of the war,” Scholz said.


The Kremlin said it was studying information on Israel’s reported strike on Iran and urged both sides to show restraint.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian radio stations that Russia’s leadership was in contact with their counterparts in Iran and Russian officials were also in touch with the Israelis.

“We very clearly outlined in these conversations and conveyed to the Israelis that Iran does not want escalation,” Lavrov said.

Iran couldn’t “not respond to a gross violation of international law and status of a diplomatic mission, but it doesn’t want escalation”, he added.


Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said: “Japan is deeply concerned about the situation in the Middle East and strongly condemn any actions that lead to the escalation of the situation.

“Japan will continue to make all necessary diplomatic efforts to prevent the situation from worsening further.”


Minister of Foreign Affairs Tobias Billstrom said: “This is something we from the government’s side take very seriously and are following very closely.”

He added that there “has to be an end to the exchange of blows and escalation”.


“We are monitoring the situation closely. We will address the situation with the foreign ministers at the G7 session this morning in Italy,” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on X.


Deputy foreign minister Jean-Noel Barrot said France’s “position is to call on all actors for de-escalation and restraint”.

Ben Saul, UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights

“Israel’s latest strikes on Iran are another violation of the prohibition on the use of military force under international law & the UN Charter, and threaten the human right to life.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies