The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has said expressed its sadness over the high tensions between the US and Iran after spurred by Donald Trump ordering the killing of Iran’s top general.
WEA said in a statement it “deeply grieves” the recent acts of aggression and violence.
It called on the leaders of US, Iran and their allies, “to resist hostile rhetoric and to de-escalate the current crisis. We encourage dialogue that prevents further crises and leads to the removal of sanctions which disproportionally impact civilians”.
Iran's supreme leader has offered condolences and called for an investigation after his country's armed forces acknowledged that they accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed his "deep sympathy" to the families of the 176 victims, and called on the armed forces to "pursue probable shortcomings and guilt in the painful incident".
Iran shot down the passenger plane after it took off from Tehran, amid heightened tensions stemming from the US air strike that killed Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani.
The military said it mistook the plane for a hostile target after launching a ballistic missile attack on two bases housing US troops in Iraq.
The Iranian government had previously repeatedly denied Western accusations that it was responsible.
WEA said in a statement: “Guided by our belief that each human bears the image of God and enjoys inherent dignity, and pursuant to our scriptural responsibility to be ambassadors of reconciliation, we further call on all citizens worldwide, especially evangelicals, to express political and ideological differences in a manner that does not demean, denigrate or de-humanize.
“The violence playing out in Iraq further threatens the presence of Christians in the country, whose numbers since 2003 have drastically dwindled. The protection of Christians and other religious communities in Iraq requires active support for peace and stability from the international community, and puts an onus on the United States and Iran to pursue de-escalation and dialogue.”
The WEA called for prayer for the political and military leaders of Iran, Iraq and the United States.
It added in its prayer “that they might seek and possess peaceable wisdom from above, leading to the path of peace. We pray also that this discernment might include de-escalation of conflict, dialogue and the re-establishment of trust, and an end to the cycles of violence and death that beset the Middle East.”