Blinken asks China, Saudi Arabia, others to rein in Iran on Israel

Blinken asks China, Saudi Arabia, others to rein in Iran on Israel


Blinken spoke by telephone to his Chinese, Turkish, Saudi and European counterparts.

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WASHINGTON (Agencies) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has asked China's foreign minister and other counterparts to use their influence to dissuade Iran from striking Israel, the State Department said Thursday (Apr 11).

Blinken spoke by telephone over the past day to his Chinese, Turkish, Saudi and European counterparts "to make clear that escalation is not in anyone's interest and that countries should urge Iran not to escalate", State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

Blinken also spoke by telephone with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant "to reiterate our strong support for Israel against these threats", Miller said.

Iran's clerical leadership has vowed to retaliate after an Israeli strike on Apr 1 levelled an Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus, killing seven members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards including two generals.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday that Israel would respond directly to any attack by Iran.

“A direct Iranian attack will require an appropriate Israeli response against Iran," Gallant told US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to remarks issued by his office.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday that the United States has "warned" Iran over its threats to Israel.

The United States also said on Thursday it had restricted its employees in Israel and their family members from personal travel outside the greater Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva areas amid Iran's threats to retaliate against its regional adversary.

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that US support for Israel's security was "ironclad", despite his criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conduct of the war in Gaza.

The United States has repeatedly made public appeals for China, seen as its top long-term global rival, to do more to address the Middle East crisis, including through pressure on Iran, which supports Hamas.

Beijing, in turn, has criticised the United States as biased toward Israel.