The Soviet Union and China Monday urged the U.S. Navy to get out of the Persian Gulf, while governments around the world said the attack on the Iranian jetliner underscores the need to end the 8-year-old Iran-Iraq war. Britain backed the United States' assertion that the Navy was exercising its right to defend itself and that the U.S. warship had warned the Iran Air Airbus to keep its distance.
Gennady K. Zhuravlev, the Soviet ambassador to Egypt, said that the presence of Western military forces "increases tension in the area and leads to incidents that are hard to predict."
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the involvement of the superpowers in the Persian Gulf "is not conducive to peace and stability in the region."
"We condemn this action and express our condolences for the victims," it said. China is officially neutral in the Iran-Iraq war, but the United States says China has sold Iran millions of dollars worth of arms.
Prime Minister Bob Hawke of Australia on Monday called the disaster a case of mistaken identity and expressed sympathy for the victims and their families.
Japan's Foreign Ministry said, "Japan hopes the incident will not lead to the widening of tensions in the Persian Gulf and appeals again for the necessity of an early peaceful solution to the Iran-Iraq conflict."