And shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was also quick to condemn the military action, saying Prime Minister Boris Johnson needed to tell US President Donald Trump the UK did not back a war with Iran. General Qassem Soleimani, head of Tehran’s elite Quds Force who spearheaded military operations in the Middle East, was targeted in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport this morning. In a statement, Mr Corbyn said: “The US assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani is an extremely serious and dangerous escalation of conflict in the Middle East with global significance.
“The UK Government should urge restraint on the part of both Iran and the US, and stand up to the belligerent actions and rhetoric coming from the United States.
Mr Corbyn, the former chairman of the Stop the War coalition, added: “All countries in the region and beyond should seek to ratchet down the tensions to avoid deepening conflict, which can only bring further misery to the region, 17 years on from the disastrous invasion of Iraq.”
Mr Fabricant, MP for Lichfield in Staffordshire, responding to Mr Corbyn’s tweet, posted: “When it comes to belligerence & making war directly or through proxies, Iran is the culprit.
“Iran fought against British soldiers and planted IEDs.
JUST IN: Updates as fears of World War 3 erupt over Iran
“It is Iran developing nuclear weapons and supporting Hamas and Hezbollah.
“For once, Jeremy, try not to side with our enemies.”
Mr Corbyn has previously been criticised in the past for his views on Iran.
According to his register of interests, Mr Corbyn was paid for appearances on the Iranian state broadcast network Press TV between 2009 and 2012.
The channel had its licence revoked by Ofcom in 2012 after the media regulator ruled that the state broadcaster’s English language outlet had breached several broadcasting licence rules over editorial control of the channel.
In June 2019, Mr Corbyn was branded “pathetic” by then foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt after he questioned whether the UK had “credible evidence” Iran was behind attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Mr Hunt accused Mr Corbyn of “virulent anti-Americanism” after he blamed Britain and the United States for stoking conflict with Iran.
Mr Corbyn’s comments also led Foreign Office Minister Andrew Murrison to claim that the Labour leader “never misses an opportunity to support those who mean our country ill”.
Mr McDonnell tweeted a video of him talking about the situation, and posted: “I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not support Trump’s military action against Iran.
“We should appreciate now how easily military action in the Middle East can escalate into full scale war. Johnson must inform Trump that the UK will not support a war against Iran.”
Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer, currently the favourite to replace Mr Corbyn as leader in the wake of last month’s general election defeat, urged restraint, tweeting: “This is an extremely serious situation.
“There’s a clear danger of further violence and escalation in the Middle East. We need to engage, not isolate Iran.
“All sides need to de-escalate tensions and prevent further conflict.”
Fellow Labour MP Jess Phillips, who today confirmed she too was a contender to succeed Mr Corbyn, tweeted: “Reckless foreign policy does not show strength. It’s not a game.
“The consequences of the escalating tensions between the US and Iran are not to be underestimated, not just once again on the civilians in the region but on the whole world.”
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab likewise urged for restraint, saying: “We have always recognised the aggressive threat posed by the Iranian Quds force led by Qasem Soleimani.
“Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate.
“Further conflict is in none of our interests.”
Mr Raab was expected to speak to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday morning.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been celebrating New Year on the private Caribbean island of Mustique, is yet to comment.
Former Middle East minister Alistair Burt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the airstrike was “extremely serious” and could cause “a huge potential escalation”.