Canada is calling for a de-escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran after an American airstrike killed the Middle Eastern country’s top general.
On early Friday, a U.S. drone strike killed Qasem Soleimani, one of Iran's top military leaders. The drone strike comes after an American contractor was killed by a rocket strike against a U.S. military base in northern Iraq. U.S. President Donald Trump said that the strikes were because Soleimani was actively planning attacks that would kill American citizens.
The killing of the 62-year-old Soleimani marks a dramatic increase in tensions between the two countries. Iran has promised retaliation for the death of Soleimani.
Canada is, unsurprisingly, standing beside its most important ally but wants everyone to calm down. In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said: “Canada is in contact with our international partners.”
“The safety and well-being of Canadians in Iraq and the region, including our troops and diplomats is our paramount concern,” said Champagne. “We call on all sides to exercise restraint and pursue de-escalation."
Champagne said the top priority for Canada is a “united and stable Iraq”—there are still hundreds of Canadian troops in the country. In the end, however, Champagne seemed to tacitly stand behind the assassination.
"Canada has long been concerned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force, led by Qasem Soleimani, whose aggressive actions have had a destabilizing effect in the region and beyond," Champagne said in the statement.
At the time of publication, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to comment directly on the killings. NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, posted on Twitter that Canada needs to take real action to help de-escalate the rising tensions on Friday morning.
“The US’ actions in Iran have brought us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East,” said Singh. “The Prime Minister needs to act quickly with other countries to de-escalate the situation and not be drawn into the path that President Trump is taking.”
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