Iran's President Extols Dialogue in Message to Pope

TEHRAN, Iran, SEPT. 6, 2002 ( Iranian President Mohammad Khatami sent a message to John Paul II in which he calls for the reinforcement of “dialogue among religions,” Iranian state television reported.

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“In the present circumstances, the dialogue among religions and civilizations must be reinforced,” Khatami wrote in his message Thursday.

Iran and the Vatican enjoy stable diplomatic relations. The Iranian president has promoted the “Dialogue of Civilizations” initiative, to which the United Nations dedicated the year 2001.

About 99% of Iran’s 66 million people are Muslims. Christians number about 250,000.

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