The Holy Father spoke privately with Karrubi for 15 minutes on Saturday, and then received the rest of the 10-member Iranian delegation.
When his guests entered the room, the Pope stood up on his own and greeted them with a warm smile, saying: “You are all welcome.”
Ayatollah Karrubi, 65, a theologian and philosopher, gave the Pope a Persian rug to mark the occasion. The Iranian was ending a three-day visit to Rome, during which he also met Italian government leaders.
On Friday, at a meeting in the Italian Institute for Africa and the East, Karrubi said that cooperation and cultural exchanges are antidotes to prejudices and the resurgence of extremism.