Molaverdi Meets Pope in Vatican

Molaverdi Meets Pope in VaticanMolaverdi Meets Pope in Vatican

Iran’s Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi met with the leader of the Catholic Church in the Vatican, Italy, on Thursday (Feb. 12).

Invited by the Pontifical Council for the Family, a delegation headed by Molaverdi made a visit to the Vatican to hold talks on international issues with Pope Francis.

The meeting discussed "how to improve interfaith relationships between Islam and Christianity, in an effort to improve the culture of peace," IRNA reported.

At a press conference later, Molaverdi said that the two leaders discussed not only matters related to the family, but also the international situation, including conflicts in the Middle East and the need to join forces in the struggle against religious extremism.

"I appreciate the pope for condemning the publication of the blasphemous cartoons insulting the Holy Prophet of Islam by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, and his support for Iran’s ongoing efforts to secure a comprehensive agreement with the P5+1 states over its nuclear program as the Pope stands by the Iranian nation and government," Molaverdi noted.

The spiritual leader of the world’s Catholics has repeatedly expressed discontent with the growing trend of religious desecration in the West, saying that freedom of expression does not mean insulting religions and religious sanctities.

Before Molaverdi, former president Mohammad Khatami was the first high-ranking Iranian official to meet with a pope since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He had met John Paul II in 1999.

Iran and the Vatican share views on many issues including the need for protection of the sanctity of life and the importance of the institution of family.