Rome, November 13 - Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni expressed Italy's support on Monday for victims in the earthquake that hit the Iran-Iraq border region Sunday evening. "Italy stands with those who are suffering and is ready to offer help to the countries hit," Gentiloni wrote on Twitter. Pope Francis is "deeply saddened" by the deadly earthquake that has hit Iraq and Iran, according to messages to the two nations sent on his behalf on Monday by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The pope "assures all affected by this tragedy of his prayerful solidarity," the messages read. "In expressing his sorrow to all who mourn the loss of their loved ones, he offers his prayers for the deceased and commends them to the mercy of the Almighty. Upon the injured and the emergency and civil authorities engaged in rescue and recovery efforts, His Holiness invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength".