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Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

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Iran promotes 'Religious Diplomacy' 35 years after Islamic Revolution

2014-02-19

The Holy See and the Islamic Republic of Iran are probably the best known theocracies in the modern world. Ties between them date back to the 1500's. With new leadership in both countries, relations are expected to strengthen. At least that's the goal for the Iranian government.

MOHAMMAD TAHER RABBANI
Iranian Ambassador to the Holy See
"The work of the Holy Father: his views towards the homeless, the weakest social classes, and the most vulnerable, and even his views on justice are followed with interest by intellectuals and the elite in Iranian society.”

As the leading voices on Catholicism and Shia Islam, for years now, the two countries have sponsored talks to foster inter-religious dialogue. 

Government officials even acknowledge that, when the time is right, moderate President Hassan Rouhani could make a trip to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis. And what could their talking points be during such a visit?

MOHAMMAD TAHER RABBANI
Iranian Ambassador to the Holy See
"Certainly, Dr. Rouhani is interested in boosting ties with the Holy See in the areas of a religious diplomacy, inspired in religious principles. It lays out a plan for the world, a plan against extremist violence, and to have this plan replace the current 'coalitions of war.'” 

The Iranian ambassador said that "religious diplomacy” is based on the search for truth, and is meant to spread common ideals and knowledge on the three monotheistic religions.

Rouhani laid out this plan for religious diplomacy at the United Nations, pushing for the creation of a group to fight religious radicalism. Government officials said the Pope and the Vatican can play a leading role in the process.

MOHAMMAD TAHER RABBANI
Iranian Ambassador to the Holy See
"The Holy See is a religious organism, that guides the Universal Catholic Church. Through this process we can develop a common mechanism to present a multilateral religious diplomacy to the world.”

Though no such meeting has been scheduled, the  ambassador said they'll continue to push for greater "religious diplomacy,” and cooperation with the Vatican. This year, Tehran will host the 9th colloquium between the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and Iran's Islamic Culture and Relations Organization.


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