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Pope and Rouhani discuss Iran's key Middle East role

26 gennaio 2016 | 15.15
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Photo: AFP

Iran's pivotal role in Middle East peace and in fighting terrorism and arms trafficking in the fraught region were the focus of talks between Hassan Rouhani and Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday.

The Vatican described the closed-door discussions between Francis and Iran's president as "cordial" and said "common spiritual values emerged" during their meeting.

The Vatican statement called relations between the Holy See and the Islamic Republic "good". Apparently referring to Iran's Christian minority, it urged "the promotion of the dignity of the human person and religious freedom".

Francis and Rouhani also discussed the landmark nuclear accord signed last July between Iran and western powers under which it agreed to scale back sensitive nuclear work in exchange for the end of crippling economic sanctions, the Vatican said.

"Attention then turned to the conclusion and application of the Nuclear Accord and the important role that Iran is called upon to fulfil, along with other countries in the region, to promote suitable political solutions to the problems afflicting the Middle East, to counter the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking," the statement said.

"In this respect, the parties highlighted the importance of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious communities in promoting reconciliation, tolerance and peace," the statement continued.

Rouhani is on a five-day visit to Italy and France aimed at restoring political and economic ties after economic sanctions ended last week.

The first visit to Europe by an Iranian president in almost two decades is also aimed at promoting Iran as a pillar of strength and stability in an increasingly fragmented and conflict-wracked Middle East region.

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