Western states sought to send de-escalation messages to Iran via Turkey, Western diplomat says

By Thomson Reuters Apr 19, 2024 | 5:13 AM

ANKARA (Reuters) – Western states have sought to send Iran messages via Turkey in recent days to reiterate appeals for de-escalation, a Western diplomat said on Friday.

The messages were conveyed before reported Israeli attacks on Iran early on Friday, after which Tehran indicated it had no plans for further retaliation.

After Iran’s retaliatory attack on Israel over the weekend, Turkey’s foreign ministry confirmed contacts with Iran and the United States in a statement, saying Ankara had called for restraint and warned of a regional war if tensions escalated further.

“In recent days we have sought to send Iran messages via Turkey – particularly reiterating the message of de-escalation,” said a Western diplomat, when asked about messages carried to Tehran by Ankara.

Turkey’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment on the matter.

John Bass, the acting U.S. Under Secretary of State, travelled to Ankara earlier this week and met Turkey’s top diplomat Hakan Fidan.

“They … discussed the critical importance of preventing further escalation or a wider conflict in the region,” a U.S. official said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer, Huseyin Hayatsever and Tuvan Gumrukcu, Editing by Daren Butler and Alex Richardson)