Iran-Vatican Detente?

Iran’s President Hassan Rohani has informally begun a dialogue between the Islamic and Christian worlds. He expressed hope for an alliance between Iran and the Holy See regarding major issues that shake humanity, like the fight against radicalism, injustice and poverty. Rohani’s appeal was launched on the occasion of his meeting with Archbishop Leo Boccardi, the new apostolic nuncio, on Nov. 2 in Tehran. Rohani published a photo of the meeting on his Twitter account, writing, “Islam and Christianity need to dialogue more than ever today, as the basis of conflicts between religions is mainly ignorance and the lack of mutual understanding.” Rohani remarked that the Vatican and Iran have “common enemies,” like terrorism and extremism, and “similar goals,” like the defeat of injustice and poverty in the world. Archbishop Boccardi called for “closer bilateral relations between the Holy See and the Islamic Republic,” expressing the wish that the two countries can work together to resolve regional crises in the Middle East, particularly the current one in Syria.

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