Pope Francis today called on the US and Iran to avoid escalation and seek “dialogue and self-restraint” in order to prevent a widespread conflict in the Middle East.
The pontiff made this appeal, his first direct comment on the current crisis, during his annual speech on the situation of the world, and addressed the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.
“The signs coming from across the region are of particular concern as the tensions between Iran and the United States are heightening,” Pope Francis told diplomats of more than 180 countries.
The Pope said tensions could “compromise the gradual process of rebuilding in Iraq, as well as set the groundwork for a vaster conflict that we all want to prevent.”
“Therefore, I renew my appeal that all the interested parties avoid an escalation of the conflict and ‘keep alive the flame of dialogue and self-restraint’, in full respect of international law,” the Pontiff stressed.