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Pope appeals to U.S. and Iran to pursue dialogue, self-restraint

VATICAN CITY, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Thursday urged the United States and Iran to avoid escalation and pursue “dialogue and self-restraint” to avert a wider conflict in the Middle East.

The pope made his appeal, his first direct comment 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. (Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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