European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged a de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East in a talk with Iran's Foreign Affairs Minister Javad Zarif over the weekend, an EU statement said on Sunday.
Days after the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani by the United States in Iraq, Borrell called on Iran to "carefully consider any reaction" and invited Zarif to Brussels to discuss the situation in the Middle East and the preservation of a nuclear deal with Tehran.
According to the statement by the EU External Action Service, Borrell and Zarif spoke on the phone during the weekend about "the need for de-escalation" and "the importance of preserving the JCPOA [nuclear deal]."
The statement further states that in the call, Borrell "urged Iran to exercise restraint" and "carefully consider any reaction" in order to avoid further escalation. Borrell said a regional political solution was "the only way forward" and the EU was ready to support this.
Soleimani, 62, was killed in the early hours of Friday, local time, outside Baghdad's International Airport in an airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump.
Hours after the attack, Trump said that he ordered the killing of Soleimani to prevent war, adding that the commander was plotting 'imminent and sinister' attacks against Americans.
In the meantime, a red flag has been raised during a ceremony to honour Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani in a declaration they are ready for war.
It is the first time in history that the red flag has been hoisted on top of the Jamkaran mosque in the Iranian city and comes after warnings of harsh retaliation against the US.
And Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday the US military in the Middle East would pay the price for the killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, and US soldiers and officers would return home in coffins.