Iran, Vatican Review Dialogue Among Religions

TEHRAN On Saturday Iranian Majlis Speaker Mahdi Karrubi met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, where he stressed dialogue among religions with the leader of the world's Catholic.

During the meeting, the Iranian speaker called for expansion of Tehran-Vatican ties and underlined that the culture of dialogue can promote the restoration of peace and the elimination of violence in the world.

Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Ministry Director General for the Mediterranean and Middle East Affairs Antonio Badini also on Saturday described the visit of Karrubi to Rome as positive, and voiced the interest of ranking Italian officials to expand Tehran-Rome bilateral ties.

Speaking in a meeting between the visiting Iranian delegation and Italian orientalists, Badini stressed the role of Iran in reinforcing the stability of the Middle East region, and recalled Iran's positive role in shaping the developments in the war-shattered Afghanistan.

He further called for Tehran's support for the Afghan interim government headed by Hamid Karzai.

Badini said that Italy attaches great importance to reforms and the international status of Iran.

Badini described Tehran-Rome economic ties as good, and stressed the development in Iran's small and medium-sized industries in order to push forward its social and economic reforms.

He further voiced Italy's readiness to share its experiences with Iran in the area of small and medium-sized industries, as a driving force in every economy.

Karrubi, for his part, echoed Tehran's readiness to broaden mutual ties with Rome in all areas.

The Iranian speaker, heading a parliamentary delegation, arrived in Rome on Thursday on a three-day visit for talks on ways to diversify bilateral relations.

In another meeting with Italian orientalists on Friday, Karrubi, said that the Islamic Revolution in Iran has provided the world with a system that can effect reconciliation between conflicting stances of religion and democracy.

He expressed his regret that increasing conflicts and armed struggles taking place all over the world are threatening global peace and justice.

Referring to the idea of "dialogue among civilizations" as initiated by President Mohammad Khatami, he stressed that today the concept of dialogue among civilization has come to be accepted as a means of achieving global peace and stability.

As to current Tehran-Rome cultural cooperation, Karrubi called for the creation of scientific and research ties between the two countries' thinkers and academicians in different areas for the purpose of allowing an exchange of views and experiences.