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Crowds surround the coffin of General Soleimani in the Iranian city of Ahvaz Crowds surround the coffin of General Soleimani in the Iranian city of Ahvaz 

Pope appeals for self-control amid heightened threat of war

Amid an escalating crisis between the United States and Iran, Pope Francis urges nations to exercise self-control and dialogue.

By Devin Watkins

“War brings only death and destruction.”

Pope Francis spoke those words of warning on Sunday, following the Angelus prayer.

Without referring to any specific countries, the Pope said there is a “terrible air of tension” in many parts of the world.

“I call upon all parties to fan the flame of dialogue and self-control, and to banish the shadow of enmity,” he said.

The Pope then invited everyone to pray in silence for a moment for this intention.

US – Iran tensions

Pope Francis’ appeal comes on the heels of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, after a US airstrike killed a top Iranian general in Iraq.

General Qassem Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force, the wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for military activities outside Iran.

His death on Friday in Baghdad raised the threat of direct confrontation between the US and Iran.

Iraqi concern

The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal Louis Rafaël Sako, on Saturday expressed the Iraqi people’s shock at the event.

“It is deplorable that our country should be transformed into a place where scores are settled, rather than being a sovereign nation, capable of protecting its own land, its own wealth, its own citizens.”

He also called on all nations to exercise moderation, act reasonably, and sit down to seek understanding.

05 January 2020, 12:38