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Tory foreign secretary backs Trump over assassination of Iran military leader, in sudden shift from Boris Johnson government

The foreign secretary has backed Donald Trump’s “right” to assassinate Iran’s top military general, in a marked shift towards supporting the incendiary attack.

Dominic Raab said the UK “understands the position the US found themselves in” ahead of killing Qasem Soleimani, saying it had “a right to self-defence”.

The shift comes after Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, criticised the UK, France and Germany for failing to be “as helpful as I wish that they could be”.

Mr Raab also declined to criticise the US president’s overnight threat to hit 52 Iranian sites if Tehran retaliates for the assassination – in what would appear to hint at all-out war in the Gulf.

He said he saw it as “the Americans trying to send a very clear message to Tehran that it cannot continue its menacing behaviour”.

However, the foreign secretary again called for both sides to “de-escalate”, saying a war would benefit no-one but Islamic State which would “exploit the vacuum”.

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