Pope urges US, Iran to seek 'dialogue and self-restraint'

Pope urges US, Iran to seek 'dialogue and self-restraint'
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Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope declines proposal for married priests The Hill's Morning Report - Trump acquitted; Romney breaks ranks on impeachment Pence meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican MORE on Thursday urged the U.S. and Iran to seek “dialogue and self-restraint” to avoid further conflict between the two countries.

The pope encouraged U.S. and Iranian leaders to avoid escalating the situation into a war in his first direct comments about the conflict since it erupted in recent weeks, Reuters reported. The religious leader’s comments came in his annual speech that has been called the “State of the World” address to Vatican ambassadors representing 180 states.

Francis reviewed a gloomy 2019, citing wars, global warming, xenophobia and the dangers of nuclear weapons, before saying the new year has not been “marked by encouraging signs” and naming the U.S.-Iran controversy as “particularly troubling." 

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“I therefore 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,” he said, according to Reuters. 

“Our human family is scarred and wounded by a succession of increasingly destructive wars that especially affect the poor and those most vulnerable,” he added.

The pope mentioned an interest in visiting Iraq this year, but the recent tensions could make that trip impossible, according to Reuters. He plans to make an appearance in South Sudan, which is in the process of coming out of civil war.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE in a speech Wednesday said that Iran seems to be standing down in the crisis after firing missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq, that ended up not causing any casualties.

Iran launched the missiles after promising retaliation for last week’s U.S. strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani while he was in Iraq.

Francis also mentioned that the urgency of climate change “seems not to have been grasped” by international governments, calling it sad, the news wire reported.