in Brussels, NATO and European Union in turn advocate "restraint"

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on January 6 in Brussels.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on January 6 in Brussels. KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

The " detention " and the " de-escalation " : both at NATO headquarters and at that of the European External Action Service of the European Union, the mantras were the same, Monday, January 6, after rising tensions between the United States and Iran following the operation which killed Iranian General Ghassem Soleimani on January 3 in Baghdad. As most Western leaders have been doing for the past few days, Atlantic Alliance secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has called on Iran, which threatens to retaliate, to avoid " more violence and provocation ”. The Norwegian leader had decided to urgently bring together the 29 ambassadors to his organization, in the presence of representatives of American diplomacy.

They explained "Posture and determinants" of the Trump administration and believed that deterrence against Tehran was now restored, summed up one participant. Washington also aimed to reassure its 28 allies: the " de-escalation Is also now an American demand, and the fight against the Islamic State (IS) organization must remain a priority. What is important is therefore to quickly convince the Baghdad authorities of the necessary continuation of the activities of the international coalition against Daesh, reports a spokesperson.

Asked about his appreciation for the action taken by the United States against the Iranian military strategist, Mr. Stoltenberg carefully avoided answering, stating, however, that the elimination of the general was the result of a "Decision of the United States, not of the coalition or NATO".

In the immediate future, NATO’s military training and training mission in Iraq is in any case suspended to protect the personnel concerned. It will be resumed "As soon as the situation on the ground allows it", assured the secretary general. The European Union’s civilian mission, deployed since the end of 2017 and renewed until next April, is maintained at least at this stage.

"No one cried Soleimani"

Monday's meeting at NATO, relatively peaceful according to a European source, in any case led to some signs of renewed unanimity: the member countries expressed their concern about the destabilizing activities of Iran, the development of its missile arsenal and its recent threats to further reduce its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, which is said to guarantee the purely civilian nature of its activities. Furthermore – but this was entrusted much more discreetly -, "Nobody, it’s clear, cried Soleimani", sums up another source.


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