Jakarta. The Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday issued a warning to Indonesian citizens living in Iran, Iraq and nearby countries to take precaution and keep abreast of the latest development in the standoff between Iran and the United States after Iran fired missiles at US airbases in Iraq in retaliation for the Donald Trump-ordered killing of its most powerful general, Qassem Suleimani, last week — an attack Iran called an act of state terrorism.
The missile attacks on the US airbases seemed to have delivered Iran's promise to take revenge for Suleimani's assassination. Its parliament approved a bill on Tuesday designating all US military and defense facilities as terrorist entities. The Iranian government also provided $220 million to reinforce its defense capability.
"We urge all Indonesian citizens in the region to keep following information from local authorities on the latest security situation. They should contact our embassies when they need assistance," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in Jakarta.
Retno said she had also spoken with the Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Chief Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto to prepare a contingency plan for when things take a turn for the worse.
More than one million Indonesians are now living in the Middle East, Retno said.
"Our emergency plan is ready to go. Our ambassadors have prepared detailed contingency plans in case of any escalation in the conflict," she said.
Indonesian Ambassador to Iran Octavino Alimudin said his embassy has told Indonesians in the country to watch out for street demonstrations.
"Only three of our citizens are staying near the border [between Iran and Iraq]. The others are in cities in different areas. We've told them to be ready for possible counter attacks [by Iran]," Octavino said in Jakarta.
Warning to Airlines
The Transportation Ministry on Wednesday also issued a warning for Indonesian airlines to take extra precaution when flying in the airspace of Iraq and Iran, and over the Persian Gulf and Oman Gulf.
"Because of the escalating conflict in the Middle East, especially in Iran and Iraq, airlines should take extra precaution and keep themselves updated on the latest situation," the ministry's director general of aviation Polana Pramesti said.
She advised that airlines should take different routes and for flights to Saudi Arabia to avoid conflict areas.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned US pilots and airplanes from flying in Iranian and Iraqi airspace and some areas over the Persian Gulf.
On Wednesday, a Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed with 176 people onboard shortly after takeoff from Tehran's airport. The flight was bound to the Ukraine capital of Kiev.
"There are no Indonesians among the casualties," Yudha Nugraha, the director of citizen protection and legal assistance at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said on Wednesday.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry has given the following numbers for Indonesians living in Iran, Iraq and nearby countries to contact during emergencies:
Indonesian Embassy in Baghdad: +964 780 6610 920/+9647500365228
Indonesian Embassy in Tehran: +989120542167
Indonesian Embassy in Kuwait City:+965-9720 6060
Indonesian Embassy in Manama:+973-3879 1650
Indonesian Embassy in Doha:+974-33322875
Indonesian Embassy in Abu Dhabi:+971-566-156259
Indonesian Embassy in Amman: +962 7 7915 0407
Indonesian Embassy in Damascus: +963 954 444 810
Indonesian Embassy in Beirut: +961 5 924 676
Indonesian Embassy in Muscat: +968 9600 0210
Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh: +966 56 917 3990
Indonesian Consulate in Dubai: +971-56-3322611/+971-56-4170333
Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah: +966-50360 9667
The Foreign Affairs Ministry Crisis Center: +62 812-9007-0027