WASHINGTON, April 12 — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has asked China’s foreign minister and other counterparts to use their influence to dissuade Iran from striking Israel, the State Department said yesterday.

Blinken spoke by telephone over the past day to his Chinese, Turkish, Saudi and European counterparts “to make clear that escalation is not in anyone’s interest and that countries should urge Iran not to escalate,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

Blinken also spoke by telephone with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant “to reiterate our strong support for Israel against these threats,” Miller said.

Iran’s clerical leadership has vowed to retaliate after an Israeli strike on April 1 levelled an Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus, killing seven members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards including two generals.

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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday that the United States has “warned” Iran over its threats to Israel.

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that US support for Israel’s security was “ironclad,” despite his criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct of the war in Gaza.

The United States has repeatedly made public appeals for China, seen as its top long-term global rival, to do more to address the Middle East crisis, including through pressure on Iran, which supports Hamas.

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Beijing in turn has criticised the United States as biased toward Israel. — AFP