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China raps attack on Iran consulate, urges US to play constructive role

Rescue workers search in the rubble of a building annexed to the Iranian embassy a day after an Israeli air strike on the consular section of Iran's embassy in Damascus on April 2, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

China has condemned the Israeli attack on Iran's diplomatic premises in Syria and called on the United States to play "a constructive role" in the West Asia region.

In a phone call with his US counterpart Antony Blinken on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi “expressed China’s strong condemnation” of a terrorist attack by Israel on Iran's diplomatic premises in the Syrian capital of Damascus on April 1, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday.

The top Chinese diplomat emphasized the "inviolable" right to the security of diplomatic institutions and the need to respect the sovereignty of Iran and Syria, according to the spokesperson.

"China will continue to play a constructive role in resolving the Middle East issue and help deescalate the situation," Mao said.

"The US in particular needs to play a constructive role," she added.

Blinken asked his Chinese counterpart to use Beijing's influence to dissuade Tehran from striking Israel, the US State Department said.

A senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, and his deputy General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi were among the seven Iranian martyrs of Israel's missile attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus on April 1.

During a speech in Tehran on Wednesday after leading the Eid al-Fitr prayers, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the Israeli regime “must be punished and will be punished” for its deadly strike on the Iranian diplomatic premises.

Ayatollah Khamenei added, “The evil Zionist regime committed another mistake ...  and that was the attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria. The consulate and diplomatic missions in any country are considered to be the territory of that country. When they attack our consulate, it means they have attacked our soil."

In a post on the social media platform X on Thursday, Iran’s mission to the UN said that the United Nations Security Council's condemnation of Israel’s attack in Damascus could have prevented the need for retaliation.

"This round of escalation is the latest spillover of the Gaza conflict," the Chinese spokesperson said, adding, "The pressing need now is to bring an end to the conflict as soon as possible."

She reiterated Beijing's calls on parties to the conflict to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2728 and put in place an immediate ceasefire.

The growing calls for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip come as more than six months of brutal Israeli aggression has killed at least 33,634 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 76,214 others.

On Friday, Gaza's health ministry said that 89 people have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza in the past 24 hours. An additional 120 have been wounded, totaling 76,214 since the Israeli war began in early October.

Israel launched the onslaught on October 7 after the Hamas resistance group carried out Operation Al-Aqsas Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

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