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US envoy asked Middle East foreign ministers to mediate with Iran

1 min

The U.S. Middle East envoy called the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Iraq to ask them to deliver a message to Iran urging it to lower tensions with Israel following a suspected Israeli air strike on Iran's embassy in Syria, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

Brett McGurk © PBS

The U.S. Middle East envoy called the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Iraq to ask them to deliver a message to Iran urging it to lower tensions with Israel following a suspected Israeli air strike on Iran's embassy in Syria, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

White House Middle East czar Brett McGurk asked the officials to contact the Iranian foreign minister to convey a message that Iran should de-escalate with Israel, which they did, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Iran's foreign ministry said on Wednesday the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Iraq spoke on the phone with Iran's foreign minister and discussed regional tensions.

The White House declined to comment.

McGurk's calls were first reported by Axios.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Israel "must be punished and it shall be" for the Damascus strike that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps members.

Among them was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in the Quds Force, an elite overseas unit of the Revolutionary Guards.

Israel, which launched a war in the Gaza Strip against Iran-backed Hamas following its deadly cross-border incursions in October, has not confirmed it was behind the strike on Damascus, but the Pentagon has said it was.

Reporting by Jonathan Landay and Steve Holland

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