Objects are seen in the sky above Jerusalem after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, in Jerusalem April 14, 2024. - Reuters

Condemnations, calls for restraint as world reacts to Iranian strikes on Israel

Biden reiterates "ironclad" support for Israel; Saudi Arabia expresses concern at "military escalation".
Published April 14, 2024

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said it launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday, in an attack that could lead to a major escalation between the regional archenemies.

Here are some of the reactions to the development so far.


Pakistan said it was watching the ongoing developments in the Middle East with “deep concern” and called for “utmost restraint”.

In a statement, the Foreign Office (FO) emphasised “for months, Pakistan has underlined the necessity of international efforts to prevent expansion of hostilities in the region and for a ceasefire in Gaza”.

It recalled its earlier statement wherein it had “pointed to the dangers of the attack on an Iranian consular office in Syria as a major escalation in an already volatile region”.

“Today’s developments demonstrate the consequences of the breakdown of diplomacy,” the FO said, adding that they also underlined the “grave implications in cases where the UN Security Council is unable to fulfil its responsibilities of maintaining international peace and security”.

“It is now critically urgent to stabilise the situation and restore peace. We call on all parties to exercise utmost restraint and move towards de-escalation,” the FO said.

United States

US President Joe Biden promised “ironclad” support for Israel after holding an urgent meeting with top security officials.

“I just met with my national security team for an update on Iran’s attacks against Israel. Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad,” Biden said on X, posting a picture of the meeting in the White House Situation Room.

In a separate statement posted on X, he said he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and told him that Tel Aviv had demonstrated a “remarkable capacity” to defend against and defeat unprecedented attacks.

He said he would convene G7 leaders tomorrow to coordinate a “united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack”.

He added: “And while we have not seen attacks on our forces or facilities today, we will remain vigilant to all threats and will not hesitate to take all necessary action to protect our people.”


UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the “reckless” strikes, which he said “risk inflaming tensions and destabilising the region”.

“Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard,” he said.

He said the UK and its allies would continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of regional partners.

“Alongside our allies, we are urgently working to stabilise the situation and prevent further escalation. No one wants to see more bloodshed,” he said.

European Union

The European Union’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the strikes were “an unprecedented escalation and a grave threat to regional security” in a message on X.

United Nations

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned “the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

“I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation,” he added, calling on parties to “avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East”.


Cairo’s foreign ministry expressed its “deep concern” at the escalation of hostilities and called for “maximum restraint”.

The ministry’s statement also warned of the “risk of the regional expansion of the conflict”, and added that Egypt would be “in direct contact with all parties to the conflict to try and contain the situation”.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi foreign ministry issued a statement voicing its concern at the “military escalation” and calling on “all parties to exercise utmost restraint and spare the region and its peoples from the dangers of war”.

It went on to urge the UN Security Council “to assume its responsibility towards maintaining international peace and security”.


China’s foreign ministry also urged restraint, characterising the attack as “the latest spillover of the Gaza conflict” and calling for the implementation of a recent UN Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire there, saying the “conflict must end now”.

“China calls on the international community, especially countries with influence, to play a constructive role for the peace and stability of the region,” it added.


France’s Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne on X said that “in deciding to take this unprecedented action, Iran has reached a new level in its acts of destabilisation and is risking a military escalation”.


Berlin’s top diplomat also warned the attack would have a destabilising effect, and urged Tehran to halt the strikes.

“We condemn the ongoing attack — which could plunge an entire region into chaos — in the strongest possible terms,” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on X.

“Iran and its proxies must stop this immediately,” she continued, adding that Berlin stands “firmly by Israel”.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa that his country “unequivocally condemns Iran’s airborne attacks”, adding: “We stand with Israel.”

“After supporting Hamas’ brutal October 7 attack, the Iranian regime’s latest actions will further destabilise the region and make lasting peace more difficult,” he added.


Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called for restraint, saying on X: “We are following with the greatest concern the evolution of the situation in the Middle East. One must at all cost avoid a regional escalation”.


The office of Argentine President Javier Milei expressed its “solidarity and unwavering commitment” to Israel in the face of the attacks.

It added that Argentina “emphatically supports the State of Israel in the defence of its sovereignty, especially against regimes that promote terror”, noting an Argentine court recently held Iran responsible for bomb attacks on the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in the 1990s.


Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Kyiv “strongly condemns Iran’s massive air attack” saying it could lead to “further grave acceleration in the Middle East”.

“The attack also demonstrates why it is critical that all of the free world’s forces are consolidated to defend the global borders of democracy.”


Russia urged all sides to “show restraint”.

“We are counting on the regional states to solve the existing problems with political and diplomatic means,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Moscow expressed “extreme concern over the latest dangerous escalation in the region”.

It said it had warned numerous times that “the lack of resolution to numerous crises in the Middle East, primarily in the zone of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict” would “lead to growth in instability”.


Nato condemned Iran’s overnight attack on Israel as “escalation” of regional unrest and urged restraint on all sides.

“We condemn Iran’s overnight escalation, call for restraint, and are monitoring developments closely. It is vital that the conflict in the Middle East does not spiral out of control,” spokesperson Farah Dakhlallah said.


The United Arab Emirates called for the exercise of the utmost restraint to avoid dangerous repercussions in the Middle East, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The UAE also called for resolving conflicts through dialogue and diplomatic channels.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis made a “pressing appeal” against a “spiral of violence”.

“I make a pressing appeal for an end to any action which could fuel a spiral of violence that risks dragging the Middle East into an even greater conflict,” the Argentinian pontiff declared.

“I am praying and following with concern, but also pain, the news that has come in recent hours about the worsening situation in Israel due to Iran’s intervention,” the pope told worshippers.

“No one should threaten the existence of others. All countries must, however, side with peace and help Israelis and Palestinians to live in two states, side by side and in security,” he said. “That is their right.”


Syria said Iran acted in self-defence.

“Iran’s response … is a legitimate right to self-defence” against Israel, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian by phone, according to a report carried by state news agency SANA.


Leaders of G7 nations condemned Iran’s attack on Israel and called for “restraint” from all sides.

“We unanimously condemned Iran’s unprecedented attack against Israel”, European Council President Charles Michel wrote on X, formerly Twitter, following video talks.

“We will continue all our efforts to work towards de-escalation. Ending the crisis in Gaza as soon as possible, notably through an immediate ceasefire, will make a difference. “

Header image: Objects are seen in the sky above Jerusalem after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, in Jerusalem April 14, 2024. — Reuters