Ahmadinejad asks Pope to join fight against Islamophobia

Tehran, Iran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called on Pope Benedict XVI for cooperation against Islamophobia in the West, official news agency IRNA reported Thursday.

"The democratic-religious system of Iran seeks cooperation and strengthening of ties with the Vatican and a constructive cooperation on Islamophobia (in the West)," Ahmadinejad said in the message.

The message was delivered to the Pope on Wednesday by one of Ahmadinejad's vice-presidetns, Mohammad-Reza Mirtajeddini, IRNA said.

"I also thank you for condemning the imprudent move by a church in Florida which insulted the holy book (the Koran) and hurt the hearts of millions of Muslims," the message said.

US pastor Terry Jones, the leader of a small congregation in Florida, had planned to burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but abandoned the plan after it provoked worldwide condemnation.