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Iran summons German envoy over ‘unacceptable’ remarks

Published: Updated:

Iran on Sunday summoned Germany’s chargé d’affaires over “unacceptable” remarks by German officials after the killing of a top general in a US strike, the foreign ministry said.

In the aftermath of Friday’s US drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani, some German officials made “wrong, thoughtless and damaging remarks in support of America’s terrorist attack in Iraq,” said the ministry in a statement.

The ministry conveyed to the German envoy Iran’s “serious protest” at such “one-sided and unacceptable” remarks, the statement added.

On Friday, a German government spokeswoman said the US strike that killed Soleimani and a top Iraqi military commander was in reaction to “provocations” from Tehran.

“The American action is a reaction to a series of military provocations for which Iran carries responsibility,” said the spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer.

The Iranian foreign ministry slammed her remarks and told the German embassy official that Soleimani was a “respected” figure at home and abroad and considered “the hero of the fight against... Daesh”, using another name for ISIS.

Demmer’s remarks, the statement said, “are against the traditional ties” between Germany and Iran.

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On Friday, Demmer also urged restraint and de-escalation in the region, saying conflicts could only be resolved through diplomacy.

“We are at a dangerous point of escalation. It is now important through prudence and restraint to contribute to de-escalation,” Demmer said.

Germany is one of six nations that agreed the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in 2015.

But the agreement has been at risk of falling apart since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

A furious Iran has vowed revenge for the killing of Soleimani, the chief architect of its military operations across the Middle East.

The summoning of the German envoy comes as the European Union on Sunday said it had invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Brussels.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrel, who issued the invitation, also called for a de-escalation of tensions following the strike that killed Soleimani.