US, Iran must avert vast conflict - pope

Francis reiterates appeal for dialogue

(ANSA) - Vatican City, January 9 - Pope Francis commented on the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States in his annual address to members of the diplomatic corps on Thursday and called on both nations to seek to de-escalate the situation. The pope said the situation "risks... compromising the gradual process of rebuilding in Iraq, as well as setting the groundwork for a vaster conflict".
    He also renewed his 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".