World leaders condemn Iran’s drone, missile attack on Israel

Simon Harris and Micheál Martin added voices to international criticism of ‘escalation’

US president Joe Biden on Saturday condemned Iran’s attacks against Israel and said he had spoken with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to reaffirm US “ironclad commitment” to the security of Israel.

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight, in an attack that could lead to a major escalation between the regional arch-enemies.

Ninety-nine per cent of which were shot down, Israel said.

“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”, said Mr Biden.


“Tomorrow, I will convene my fellow G7 leaders to co-ordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack,” Mr Biden said in a statement, referring to the Group of Seven Major economies.

Taoiseach Simon Harris on Sunday morning said: “I strongly condemn Iran’s reckless and large-scale attack on Israel. I urge all sides to show restraint now and to avoid any escalation in military action and the devastation that would cause.”

Micheál Martin, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, also issued a statement.

“I strongly condemn Iran’s attack on Israel. My thoughts are with the Israeli people at this time. The scale and intensity of the attack represents a flagrant threat to international peace and security and is utterly unacceptable. It does nothing to help the cause of the Palestinian people or bring us closer to an end to the suffering in Gaza,” he said.   

“There is now an urgent need for regional de-escalation. Further escalation is in nobody’s interest. I urge all actors to intensify efforts to restore stability. Ireland will work closely with our EU partners in responding to this crisis.”

Speaking after the attack, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “In recent years, and especially in recent weeks, Israel has been preparing for a direct attack by Iran. Our defensive systems are deployed; we are ready for any scenario, defensively and offensively. The State of Israel is strong. The IDF is strong. The public is strong.

“We appreciate the US standing alongside Israel, as well as the support of Britain, France and many other countries. We have determined a clear principle: Whoever harms us, we will harm them. We will defend ourselves against any threat and will do so level-headedly and with determination.”

Iran mission to the United Nations (UN) said: “ ... Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus. The matter can be deemed concluded.

“However, should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe. It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the US MUST STAY AWAY”

Antonio Guterres, the UN’s general secretary, said he strongly condemned the escalation “by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran this evening. I call for an immediate cessation of these hostilities”.

“I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation. I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.

“I have repeatedly stressed that neither the region nor the world can afford another war.”

“I condemn in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel,” UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said.

“These strikes risk inflaming tensions and destabilising the region. Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard.

“The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq. Alongside our allies, we are urgently working to stabilise the situation and prevent further escalation. No one wants to see more bloodshed.”

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau said the country “unequivocally condemns Iran’s airborne attacks against Israel. We stand with Israel. After supporting Hamas’ brutal October 7th attack, the Iranian regime’s latest actions will further destabilise the region and make lasting peace more difficult”.

“These attacks demonstrate yet again the Iranian regime’s disregard for peace and stability in the region. We support Israel’s right to defend itself and its people from these attacks.”

Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister said: “ ... We strongly condemn the ongoing attack, which could plunge an entire region into chaos. Iran and its proxies must stop this immediately. Israel offers our full solidarity at this time.”

Germany’s ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert said: “Germany’s solidarity is with all Israelis tonight whom Iran is terrorising with this unprecedented and ruthless attack: Jews as well as Arabs and Christians, the Bedouin in the Negev as well as the Druze in the Golan. May they all be safe.”

France also condemned the attack. “By deciding on such an unprecedented action, Iran is taking a new step in its destabilising actions and taking the risk of a military escalation,” said France’s foreign minister Stéphane Séjourné.

Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, said the EU condemns the “unacceptable” Iranian attack against Israel. “This is an unprecedented escalation and a grave threat to regional security,” he said.

European Council president Charles Michel said “everything must be done to prevent further regional escalation. More bloodshed must be avoided. We will continue to follow the situation closely with our partners”.

Spain is following events in the Middle East “with the deepest concern,” said prime minister Pedro Sánchez. “We are in permanent contact with our embassies in the region which will remain open to support Spaniards in the area.”

Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, described the situation as ‘very worrying”.

“Earlier today, the Netherlands and other countries sent a loud and clear message to Iran to refrain from attacking Israel. the Netherlands strongly condemns Iran’s attacks on Israel. Further escalation must be prevented. ... We continue to monitor developments very closely,” he said.

Denmark also condemned the attack as foreign minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said: “I urge everyone to show restraint and de-escalate the situation. Iran’s destabilising role in the Middle East is unacceptable – and so is this attack.”

Norway’s foreign minister echoed other European leaders when Espen Barth said: “I condemn the illegal and dangerous Iranian attack under way against Israel. This will further deteriorate an already extremely volatile situation. We must prevent further escalation of violence in the Middle East. I call upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint.”

The Czech Republic’s foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the “destabilising behaviour of Iran and its proxies who decided to attack Israel”.

“We reiterate the Israeli right for self-defence. Iran’s long term aggressive behaviour is preventing the Middle East region to live in peace and security.”

Colombia president Gustavo Petro said the attack was “predictable”.

“We’re now in the prelude to second World War precisely when humanity should rebuild its economy towards the rapid goal of decarbonisation. The support of the US, in practice, for a genocide, has ignited the world. Everyone knows how wars start, no one knows how they end. If only the people of Israel were high enough, like their ancestors, to stop the madness of their ruler. The United Nations must meet urgently and must immediately commit to peace.”

In Argentina, the office president Javier Milei expressed its solidarity and unwavering commitment to Israel

“The Republic of Argentina recognises the right of state nations to defend themselves and strongly supports the state of Israel in the defence of its sovereignty, in particular against regimes that promote terror and seek the destruction of western civilisation.”

Santiago Pena, president of Paraguay, said: “In such difficult times, we express our full support for the people of Israel, and are concerned about the increase of violence in the region. We remain in contact with our embassies in the region to serve our compatriots.”

Chile’s foreign minister Alberto Van Klaveren expressed concerned over “the serious escalation of tensions in the Middle East and the Iranian attacks against Israel”.

“Chile condemns the use of force and defends international humanitarian law, which protects civilian lives in armed conflicts,” he said.

Mexico issued a statement also expressing its deep concern over Iran’s attack “and the impact that this could have on thousands of human lives”.

“Mexico condemns the use of force in international relations, and calls on the parties to self-restrain and seek solutions peacefully to avoid a more general conflict in the Middle East. Mexico also emphasises the importance of respecting international law for the sake of international peace and security.” – Reuters