TEHRAN (Press Shia) – In a telephone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell underlined the need for “exercise of restraint” following the US assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.

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“Spoke w Iranian FM @Jzarif about recent developments. Underlined need for de-escalation of tensions, to exercise restraint & avoid further escalation. Also discussed importance of preserving #JCPOA, which remains crucial for global security. I am committed to role as coordinator,” Borrell tweeted.

However, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Saturday that he would seek direct talks with the Iranians over the issue.

“In the coming days, we will do all we can to counteract a further escalation of the situation – in the United Nations, the EU and in dialogue with our partners in the region, including in talks with Iran,” Maas said in an interview with German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

The top German diplomat said that he would do his best to de-escalate tensions between Iran and the US, adding he was maintaining close contact with EU’s Borrell as well as with foreign counterparts like US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the issue.

That came as Zarif posted a tweet to remind Pompeo, whom he called an “arrogant clown”, that people of Iraq were deeply sad about the death of Soleimani.

“24 hrs ago, an arrogant clown— masquerading as a diplomat— claimed people were dancing in the cities of Iraq. Today, hundreds of thousands of our proud Iraqi brothers and sisters offered him their response across their soil. End of US malign presence in West Asia has begun,” Zarif said.

General Soleimani, the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi, and a number of their entourage were killed in a strike by American drones near Baghdad International Airport in the early hours of Friday.

The White House and the Pentagon confirmed the assassination of General Soleimani in Iraq, saying the attack was carried out at the direction of US President Donald Trump.

In a message on Friday morning, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei warned that harsh revenge awaits the criminals behind the martyrdom of General Soleimani.