Pope Francis Urges Iran’s President to Fight Terrorism

Tasnim News Agency [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Tasnim News Agency [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Pope Francis urges President Hassan Rouhani to promote Peace.

Pope Francis met President Hassan Rouhani of Iran to engage in a cordial discussion that touched on Iran's role in the Middle East and also the nuclear accord the former recently signed. The discussion started with the two speaking privately for about 40 minutes. Officials came later.

Pope Francis Urges Iran’s President to Fight Terrorism[/tweetthis]

The 40-minute-long meeting took place in the apostolic palace. The pontiff urged Rouhani to help in the Middle East peace process and also to counter terrorist activities in the region. He also praised Iran's landmark nuclear deal and mentioned the condition of Christians in Iran. The subject of interreligious dialogue also came up. Rouhani, through a female translator, told the Pope in Farsi to pray for him. He said that the meeting was a pleasure, and he wished the pontiff well. Francis also reciprocated in Italian, communicating via a Farsi translator, thanking the Iranian statesman for his visit, and said that he hoped for peace.  The Vatican issued a statement post meeting that the talks were cordial and the discussions led to the emergence of a number of common spiritual values.

The Vatican said that it has urged Iran to combat arms trafficking. The meeting with the Vatican was an important component of the Iranian effort for a prominent position on the world stage post the nuclear deal it had signed with Western powers.

The visit to the Holy See by Rouhani was the first time an Iranian president and a pope met each other since 1999. Iran has consented to restrict its nuclear programs in exchange for a relief of the economic sanctions imposed by the West. It is eager for a bigger role in the mediation of Middle East conflicts. The papacy under Pope Francis has stressed on conflict resolution and mediation. He has earlier tried to normalize fraught relations between the United States and Cuba.

According to Reverend Bernardo Cervellera, an editor of AsiaNews, the Pope could assist in warming the diplomatic relations that exist between other nations and Iran. He said that if peace has to return in Middle East, then Iran and its version of Islam has an important role.

Christians are present in Iran and their population may be anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000. About 20,000 Catholics are present in the country. They are recognized as a religious minority and enjoy a few rights. They also face rigid limitations. 


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