Russia hopes US, Iran will refrain from new strikes amid tensions

Tokyo [Japan], Jan 10 (ANI): Russia hopes that the United States and Iran will refrain from new strikes and Moscow intends to contribute to stability through the collective security initiative and through bilateral contacts with various countries involved in the conflict in the Middle East, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Friday.

Upon arriving in Tokyo for participating in the Russian-Japanese strategic dialogue, Ryabkov told Sputnik that "Russia would like to hope that the United States and Iran will refrain from new strikes."

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. (ANI)