US-Iran tensions: Sheikh Tamim, Trudeau call for de-escalation

Leaders of Qatar and Canada discuss ways of enhancing stability in the region, as well as way to boost bilateral ties.

People gather for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, at the gate of Amri Kabir University that some of the victims of the crash were former students of, in Tehran,
Fifty-seven of the 176 people on board the plane brought down by Iran were Canadian [Ebrahim Noroozi/AP]

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have held a phone conversation during which the two leaders agreed on the need for de-escalation in the region.

The call on Tuesday evening came days after Iran admitted to mistakenly downing a Ukrainian commercial plane, killing all 176 people on board including 57 Canadians, saying air defences were fired in error while on alert after attacks against US targets in Iraq.

Wednesday’s crash happened just hours after Iran fired missiles at two Iraqi bases hosting US troops in retaliation for the US assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3.

US President Donald Trump had previously threatened to strike 52 targets within Iran if Tehran targeted US citizens or assets following Soleimani’s killing – and Iran has said the US bears some of the blame for the unintentional downing of the plane amid the heightened tensions.

During their phone conversation, Sheikh Tamim offered his condolences to Trudeau and expressed the need for a credible and transparent investigation into the incident, adding that it was important to respond to the needs and wishes of the families of the victims.

The two leaders further discussed ways of stabilising the region, as well as bilateral relations and possible ways of enhancing them.

Trudeau, who has been careful not to blame US President Donald Trump for the deaths of the Canadians on board the Kyiv-bound airliner, has said the plane crash would never have taken place if tensions in the region had not escalated.

“If there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau told Canadian broadcaster Global News on Monday.

“This is something that happens when you have a conflict and the war. Innocents bear the brunt of it.”

Source: Al Jazeera