Brother of Iran's Highest Religious Authority Meets Pope

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2002 ( John Paul II received in audience Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Khamenei, president of the Molla Sadra Islamic Philosophy Foundation and a brother of Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest religious authority.

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The philosophy foundation is a prestigious research center dedicated to Persian philosopher Molla Sadra (who died in 1641), a leading Muslim thinker of his time. Periodically, the foundation holds a world congress on his works.

The ayatollah visited the Pope today with an entourage of six Iranian philosophers and intellectuals.

John Paul II has supported Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s initiative for “Dialogue Between Civilizations and Cultures,” ever since the president explained it personally in the Vatican in 1998.

Khatami was the author of the U.N. proposal to proclaim 2001 the Year of Dialogue Between Civilizations.

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