Pope urges Rouhani to promote world peace

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (R) is welcomed by Pope Francis at the Vatican January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Medichini/Pool

Pope Francis met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the Vatican on Tuesday and urged Tehran to work with other Middle East states to promote peace and stop the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking in the region.

Despite being an Islamic republic, Iran has good relations with the Holy See and the Vatican has been seeking to use its influence with Teheran to help bring peace to the Middle East.

A Vatican statement spoke of the “important role Iran is called on to play, along with other countries in the region, to promote adequate political solutions to the problems that afflict the Middle East, combating the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking”.

“I thank you for your visit and I hope for peace,” Francis told the Iranian leader at the end of a 40-minute meeting in the pope’s private study in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

Rouhani, who wore a white turban and black robe, asked the pope to “pray for me”. He then held separate talks with top Vatican diplomats.