Middle East crisis: US committed in de-escalating tensions between Israel, Iran, says Blinken

No damages were reported in the ‘Israel counter strike’ in Isfahan

Israel Iran US Blinken (File) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he disembarks from an aircraft on his arrival in Tel Aviv | AP

With an apparent Israeli drone attack on a major air base near the city of Isfahan in Iran, regional tensions further escalated in the Middle East. However, Iranian officials downplayed the incident and have not confirmed the Israeli 'counter strike'. 

Since the Saturday retaliatory air strike on Israel by Tehran after alleged Israeli missiles hit its consulate in Syria, killing several people including the top general, tensions have been high. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said "We were not involved in any offensive operations." Earlier, some US officials have confirmed the counter-strike attack. 

While Iranian army commander Gen Abdolrahim Mousavi said the explosion this morning in the sky of Isfahan was related to the shooting of air defence systems at a suspicious object that did not cause any damage. 

Iran has already said that they are not planning to retaliate.

Meanwhile, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia "made it very clear" to Israel that Iran "does not want escalation" as part of these discussions.

Jordan, which shares a border with Israel has also warned against the "danger of regional escalation" and called for an end to Israeli-Iranian retaliations. 

"We condemn all actions that threaten dragging the region into war," Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi says in a statement.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged both sides to cease retaliating after Israel carried out a military strike on Iran, a spokesperson said in a statement on Friday. 

"The Secretary-General reiterates that it is high time to stop the dangerous cycle of retaliation in the Middle East," the statement read.

"The Secretary-General condemns any act of retaliation and appeals to the international community to work together to prevent any further development that could lead to devastating consequences for the entire region and beyond," it added. 

Blinken said the G7 countries including the US were "committed to de-escalating" tensions between Israel and Iran.

"We’re committed to Israel’s security. We’re also committed to de-escalating -- to trying to bring this tension to a close," Blinken said during a news conference after the group's meeting in Capri, Italy, after the news of Israel launching a military strike on Iran.

He also said the countries shared "a commitment to hold Iran to account."

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