UNITED NATIONS, January 3. /TASS/. US and Iranian leaders must exercise maximum restraint to avoid a new war in the area of the Persian Gulf, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement on Friday in the wake of the US strike at the Baghdad airport, which killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.
"This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint. The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf," he said.
"The Secretary-General has consistently advocated for de-escalation in the Gulf. He is deeply concerned with the recent escalation," the statement reads.
The Pentagon earlier confirmed that a missile strike near the Baghdad airport killed the head of the Quds Force Qasem Soleimani. The operation was carried out at the direction of US President Donald Trump, the statement said.
According to the Pentagon, the strike was defensive, since it was aimed at protecting US troops in Iraq and other countries. Washington blamed Soleimani for allegedly approving a rally outside the US Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.