Iranian foreign minister in New York: Ease Middle East tensions

by IANS |

New York/Tehran, April 20 (IANS/DPA) Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amirabdollahian has come out in favour of easing tensions in the Middle East in remarks to Iranian media in New York on Saturday, following tit-for-tat attacks between Israel and Iran.

"War and military tensions are of no benefit to any party in the region, and so fundamental solutions must be found," Amirabdollahian said. All sides needed to focus on a political solution, he said.

Israel had to cease "its war crimes" in the region, Amirabdollahian said. Humanitarian aid and an exchange of hostages for prisoners in the Gaza conflict would then become possible, he said at the end of a trip to the US.

While in New York, where he joined several sessions of the United Nations, Amirabdollahian emphasized that Iran would not react to attacks on military targets in Iran's central Isfahan Province on Friday that have been attributed to Israel.

"Neither damage nor victims were caused by the small drones shot down near Isfahan," Amirabdollahian was quoted as saying. The foreign minister described the attacks as an attempt by pro-Israeli media to show Israel's military dominance.

"The small downed drones were rather like the toys that our kids play with," he is reported to have said. But he warned that Iran would respond "vehemently and firmly" to a real Israeli attack.

Friday's attacks on Isfahan, where Iran maintains key aspects of its nuclear arms industry, have widely been seen as a response to last weekend's mass attack by Iranian drones and missiles on Israeli territory.

That attack was in turn seen as a response to an attack on the Iranian embassy compound on April 1, which has been attributed to Israel.

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