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'Punishing aggressor a necessity', Iran FM tells German counterpart

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock held phone talks on Thursday.

Iran's foreign minister has told his German counterpart that "legitimate defense with the aim of punishing the aggressor is a necessity" after Israel's April 1 airstrike on the Iranian consular section in Damascus.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Annalena Baerbock held phone talks on Thursday, during which the top Iranian diplomat also criticized Germany for its "neutrality" on the Israeli genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Iran has pledged retaliation for the Israeli airstrike that killed seven Iranian military advisors at its diplomatic annex in the Syrian capital.

"When the Israeli regime completely violates the immunity of individuals and diplomatic places in violation of international law and the Vienna Conventions, legitimate defense is a necessity," Amir-Abdollahian said, according to a statement issued by the foreign ministry in Tehran.

The statement said the two ministers discussed the latest developments in the region and bilateral relations, emphasizing the necessity to maintain the path of dialog.

"The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is always based on avoiding tension," Amir-Abdollahian said.

Iran, the minister said, expected Germany to clearly condemn the Israeli crime in killing its military advisors. 

"If a similar missile attack had taken place on one of the diplomatic places in the war zone in Ukraine, would the reaction of the United States and Europe have been the same?" he said.

Amir-Abdollahian addressed Baerbock's remarks about the need for a ceasefire in the Gaza war and the failure of efforts to halt the Israeli invasion of the besieged Palestinian territory.

"The reason why Germany's efforts to establish a ceasefire in Gaza have been fruitless should be found in the lack of German neutrality in this genocide," the Iranian minister said.

"Israel is an occupying regime and Palestine has the right to legitimate defense. In this regard, the only way to solve the current problems is to end the genocide and war crimes in Gaza," he added.

Amir-Abdollahian welcomed the resolution of misunderstandings between Tehran and Berlin regarding human rights.

In February, Baerbock appealed for an extension of a UN mission about 2022 riots in Iran during her speech to the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"We expect Germany not to repeat baseless accusations against Iran and to defend the rights of thousands of women and children in Gaza and other parts of the world, where women's rights are constantly violated," Amir-Abdollahian said.

Baerbock spoke with her Iranian counterpart about "the tense situation in the Middle East" and the need for restraint, the German foreign ministry said.

"Avoiding further regional escalation must be in everyone's interest. We urge all actors in the region to act responsibly and exercise maximum restraint," the ministry wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

The Iranian foreign ministry readout said Baerbock congratulated the advent of Eid al-Fitr, stressing that the Muslim festival carries the message of peace.

"In this tense situation, Germany requests restraint from the Islamic Republic of Iran," she said, it added.

As for the Israeli attack on Iran's consular section in Damascus, the German foreign minister said her country "clearly emphasized that diplomatic places enjoy complete immunity", the Iranian foreign ministry statement said.

The German government, she said, has tried and is trying to end the war in Gaza through a political solution, according to the statement.

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