“For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Revelation 17:17,18 (KJV)
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis held talks with Iran’s president at the Vatican Tuesday, calling on Tehran to play a key role in stopping the spread of terrorism as Iran tries to improve its image in the global arena following an agreement on its nuclear program.
The pontiff warmly clasped the hand of President Hassan Rouhani in the first official call paid on a pontiff by an Iranian president since 1999. They held 40 minutes of private talks before Rouhani met with other top Vatican officials.
THE TALKS “DELVED INTO THE CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION OF THE NUCLEAR ACCORD, AND THE IMPORTANT ROLE THAT IRAN IS CALLED UPON TO PLAY, TOGETHER WITH OTHER COUNTRIES OF THE REGION, WAS HIGHLIGHTED,” THE HOLY SEE SAID.
It added that that role should “foster adequate political solutions to the issues plaguing the Middle East, fighting the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking.”
The “cordial” talks also stressed common spiritual values, the statement said.
The president gave Pope Francis a hand-woven rug, which came from the holy city of Qom.
In return, Pope Francis
gave him a medallion and explained its significance.
“It is the figure of Saint Martin, when he was a soldier. He took off his cape to cover a poor person. There is a need for free brotherhood.”
“Thank you, really.”
Pope Francis also gave him a copy of his environmental encyclical “Laudato Si” and joked that it still hadn’t been translated to Farsi.
At the end of the visit, the Pope made a final request.
“Please, I ask you to pray for me.”
Interestingly, Rouhani requested the same thing from Pope Francis.
The Vatican meeting was a key part of the Iranian effort to take a more prominent place on the world stage after the nuclear deal with Western powers.
Iran, which agreed to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for an end to economic sanctions, is eager to carve out a bigger role in mediating Middle East conflicts. Pope Francis’ papacy has emphasized mediation and conflict-resolution, including his role in helping Cuba and the United States to normalize their relations.