U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres started off the year with a warning about the geopolitical tensions, which he said are at their "highest level this century" and continuing to escalate.
"Even nuclear non-proliferation can no longer be taken for granted. This cauldron of tensions is leading more and more countries to take unpredicted decisions with unpredictable consequences and a profound risk of miscalculation," Guterres said.
While he did not directly mention the situation between Washington and Tehran since a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian military official who was visiting Iraq, it was clear it is high on his mind.
"I have been following the recent rise in global tensions with great concern," he said. "I am in constant contact with leading officials around the world. My message is simple and clear: Stop escalation. Exercise maximum restraint. Re-start dialogue. Renew international cooperation."
The U.N. chief has been a strong supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and has repeatedly urged the parties to adhere to it.
Meanwhile, in Paris, Iran’s ambassador to the U.N.’s Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, met with the director-general to discuss President Donald Trump’s threats that the U.S. military would strike targets in Iran, including sites of cultural heritage, should Iran retaliate against Washington for killing General Qassem Soleimani.
The UNESCO chief emphasized that such an action would violate existing international conventions, as well as a 2017 U.N. Security Council resolution which condemns acts of destruction on cultural heritage.
UN Chief: Global Tensions at 'Highest Level This Century'