Washington DC [USA], Jan 10 (ANI): US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Friday discussed the latest developments in the Middle East with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres amid the rising tensions in the region following the killing of Iranian senior commander General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike.
"Glad to speak again today with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. We discussed the situation in the Middle East, as well as the enduring importance of the UN charter. Pleased these were priority issues at the UNSC today," Pompeo said in a tweet.
The conversation assumes significance after Iran, early on Wednesday, launched more than a dozen missiles on US targets in Iraq -- first at the Ain Al-Asad airbase in Anbar province and another one at Erbil, which falls in the Kurdistan region.
The strikes came hours after the funeral of senior Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, whose killing in a US air raid last week in Baghdad intensified tensions in the region.
Soleimani, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, was killed in a US drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq last Friday.
Soleimani's death has marked a dramatic escalation in tension between the US and Iran, that has often been at a fever pitch since Trump, in 2018, chose to unilaterally withdraw Washington from the 2015 nuclear pact the world powers had struck with Tehran.
Countries including the UK and India have condemned Iran's strikes and urged Tehran to pursue urgent de-escalation.
In his White House address, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington will impose "additional punishing economic sanctions" on Iran and said the penalties will remain in place untill Tehran "changes its behaviour".
On the other hand, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country's final answer to the killing of Soleimani, "will be to kick all US forces out of the region". (ANI)