The US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft has told the UN Security Council that Washington acted out of self-defense when it killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Craft cited Article 51 of the UN Charter, which outlines “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”

Read more: Qassem Soleimani: Timeline of events following Iranian general’s assassination

US ‘ready to engage’

The US was acting “in response to an escalating series of armed attacks in recent months by the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran-supported militias on US forces and interests in the Middle East,” Craft said.

However, she noted that the US is also “ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran, with the goal of preventing further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime,” Craft said in a letter on Wednesday.

Read more: Opinion: Tehran’s moderate retaliation paves way for de-escalation

 A picture published by the media office of the Iraqi military's joint operations forces on their official Facebook page shows a destroyed vehicle on fire following a US strike on January 3, 2020 on Baghdad international airport road in which top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed along with eight others

The killing of Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani triggered a tit-for-tat response from Iranian forces

‘Measured and proportionate’

Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi also sent a letter to the UN Security Council, invoking its right to self-defense. Iran took “a measured and proportionate military response” against the US presence in Iraq for the killing of Soleimani, Ravanchi said.

“The operation was precise and targeted military objectives thus leaving no collateral damage to civilian assets in the area,” he added. “Iran declares that it is determined to continue to vigorously … defend its people, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity against any aggression.”

Read more: Iran’s cyberweapons keep US on edge

Trump: Iran ‘standing down’

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signaled his intention to de-escalate the situation following Iran’s attack on US targets in Iraq, citing a moderate response from Tehran for Soleimani’s killing.

Iran’s attack resulted in no casualties, a fact touted by analysts as a key motive behind Trump’s decision to refrain from further escalating military engagement with Tehran.

“Our great American forces are prepared for anything,” Trump said. “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.”

Iran has warned that it would take further military action against the US if Washington decided to stage another retaliatory attack.

Read more: Why the US and Iran are not at war

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US President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the White House

“To the people of Iran, the United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” US President Donald Trump said.

ls/se (Reuters, AP)

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