Pope Francis has urged the United States of America and Iran to avoid escalation and pursue “dialogue and self-restraint.”
The Catholic church leader pleaded with both countries to avert wider conflict in the Middle East.
According to Al-Jazeera, the pontiff commented on the current crisis, in a yearly speech that has come to be known as his “State of the World” address to ambassadors accredited to the Vatican.
He said; “Particularly troubling are the signals coming from the entire region following the heightening of tensions between Iran and the United States,” Francis told diplomats from more than 180 states.
He said the tensions risked “compromising the gradual process of rebuilding in Iraq, as well as setting the groundwork for a vaster conflict that all of us would want to avert”.
Iran had on Wednesday launched over 15 missiles on US targets in Iraq in retaliation to the death of Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general who was buried on Tuesday. It further issued another warning that any US retaliation to the missile attacks in Baghdad would lead to an all-out war in the Middle East.