Sunak Urges Restraint as Israel Weighs Response to Iran Attack

UK PM Sunak urges calm as Israel-Iran tensions escalate after missile/drone attack. Allies seek to prevent wider war, consider tougher sanctions on Iran.

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Sunak Urges Restraint as Israel Weighs Response to Iran Attack

Sunak Urges Restraint as Israel Weighs Response to Iran Attack

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for calm and restraint in Israel's response to Iran's unparalleled missile and drone attack on Saturday. In a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sunak reiterated the UK's steadfast support for Israel's security and regional stability while stressing that significant escalation would only deepen insecurity in the Middle East.

Netanyahu thanked the UK for its rapid and robust support in helping defend against the Iranian attack, which involved more than 300 drones and missiles. The UK joined allies including the US and Jordan in shooting down a number of the projectiles, with Sunak confirming that British Royal Air Force jets intercepted Iranian drones.

Despite Israel's right to defend itself, Sunak warned Netanyahu that launching a major retaliation against Iran would leave Israel less secure. He emphasized the need for "calm heads to prevail" and that a "significant escalation was in no one's interest." The US and France have also urged Israel to hold off on immediate revenge strikes.

Why this matters:The novel attack by Iran on Israel risks igniting a wider war in the Middle East. Western allies are working to prevent a major escalation by Israel while also considering tougher sanctions on Iran to deter further aggression.

Sunak expressed grave concern about the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza and urged Israel to open up new aid routes. The fighting between Israel and Iran-backed groups like Hamas and Hezbollah has claimed the lives of at least 370 Lebanese and 18 Israelis so far.

The UK Prime Minister has faced pressure from some MPs to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. However, a Home Office minister warned that such a move could jeopardize Britain's ability to engage with Tehran, which the government says is currently in the national interest to maintain a diplomatic channel and avoid miscalculation.

Western allies are now considering expanding sanctions against Iran in response to the attack on Israel. The US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said additional sanctions will be imposed in the coming days, while some EU member states have also called for tougher measures. Iran's president told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Tehran's strikes were limited and it wanted to avoid further escalation.

Key Takeaways

  • UK PM Sunak calls for calm in Israel's response to Iran's missile/drone attack
  • Sunak stresses significant escalation would deepen insecurity in the Middle East
  • Western allies urge Israel to hold off on immediate revenge strikes against Iran
  • UK faces pressure to designate Iran's IRGC as a terrorist organization
  • Western allies consider expanding sanctions against Iran in response to the attack