In a bid to re-establish relations between Christianity and Islam, Pope Francis honored President Hassan Rouhani of Iran with a private audience at the Vatican. The meeting lasted for about 40 minutes. It was the first papal encounter with an Iranian head of state since 1999.
President Hassan’s meeting with Pope Francis drew particular interest due to the close ties the Vatican and Iran have enjoyed for years and at the end of the meeting, the Pope said, “I thank you very much for this visit. I have high hopes in peace”, according to Catholic News Service.
Reacting to the Pope’s statement, President Rouhani asked the Pope to pray for him, and said it was a pleasure to meet him.He also wished him good luck with his work.
President Rouhani left the Pope a parting gift – a book of reproductions by painter Mahmoud Farshchian and a rug handmade in Shi’ite holy city, Qom.
The Vatican would issue a report on the meeting later in the day.