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Iran’s President to Pope Francis: “I Ask That You Pray for Me”

Pope Francis (R) smiles with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the end of their private audience on January 26, 2016, at the Vatican. President Hassan Rouhani described Iran as the safest and most stable country in the Middle East as he urged international investors to help modernise the country's sanctions-hit economy. On the second day of a landmark visit to Europe, the Iranian leader also pitched the Islamic Republic's potential for companies seeking a base in a region of 300 million people and vowed the government would never interfere in private business deals. / AFP / POOL / ANDREW MEDICHINI (Photo credit should read ANDREW MEDICHINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 01/26/16

This historic meeting—the first  of its kind in nearly 20 years—prompted some conversation that the Vatican described as “cordial.”

From CNS: 

Meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Vatican, Pope Francis told him he had high hopes for peace. And while Pope Francis usually asks those he meets for their prayers, the Shiite cleric pre-empted the pope’s request and said, “I ask you to pray for me.” President Rouhani, who was in Europe to build political and economic ties after Iran’s historic nuclear agreement, met with the pope Jan. 26 for 40 minutes of private talks with the aid of translators. The president then had a separate meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. The recent international agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program was discussed as well as “the important role Iran is called to play with other nations in the region in promoting adequate political solutions to the problems that afflict the Middle East, opposing the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking,” the Vatican said in a written communique. When he convened a Middle East summit at the Vatican in 2014, Pope Francis had said that arms trafficking was the root cause of many problems in the region. Also underlined during the Jan. 26 discussions were “the importance of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious communities in promoting reconciliation, tolerance and peace,” the Vatican communique said. “During the cordial conversations, common spiritual values were highlighted” and “the good state of relations between the Holy See and the Islamic Republic of Iran” was recognized, the Vatican said. Mention also was made of how the Catholic Church in Iran and the Holy See seek to promote “the dignity of the human person and religious freedom.”

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Photo: Andrew Medichini/AFP/Getty Images

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