Boris Johnson has said the UK “will not lament” the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Solemaini – who was leader of Iran’s Quds Force – was killed on Friday by U.S. drone strikes in Baghdad.
The Prime Minister released a statement last night on the rising tensions in the Middle East, after days of silence.
“General Qasem Soleimani posed a threat to all our interests and was responsible for a pattern of disruptive, destabilising behaviour in the region,” he said. “Given the leading role he has played in actions that have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and western personnel, we will not lament his death.
“It is clear however that all calls for retaliation or reprisals will simply lead to more violence in the region and they are in no one’s interest. We are in close contact with all sides to encourage de-escalation. I will be speaking to other leaders and our Iraqi friends to support peace and stability.”
Earlier in the day Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said America “had a right to exercise self-defence” when they killed Soleimani.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “The reality is that Iran for a long period has been involved with menacing, destabilising activity, partly through the work of General Soleimani. My view is…that there is a right of self defence.”
But the added: “We want to see the de-escalation of those tensions, we want to see stability in the region, we don’t want to give Daesh (ISIS) the opportunity of a vacuum there.”
Johnson’s statement came hours after the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel all foreign forces from Iraq. About 400 British troops are stationed in Iraq, while the U.S. has 5,200.
A UK government spokesman said that coalition forces were in Iraq to protect its people and others from the Islamic State group. “We urge the Iraqi government to ensure the coalition is able to continue our vital work countering this shared threat,” he said.
Meanwhile, HMS Montrose and HMS Defender are to start accompanying UK-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf, where a tanker was seized by Iran last July.