Vatican City, Feb 11, 2004 / 22:00 pm
John Paul II today received Kamal Kharrazi, foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, encouraging him to protect the rights of people from different religious backgrounds.
“Your presence here,” said the Pope in English, “is a sign of the cooperation that, for more than fifty years now, has marked the official relations between the Holy See and your country. I am confident that this spirit of collaboration will continue to grow ever stronger as we address issues of mutual concern to us.”
“Not least in this regard,” added the Holy Father, “is the ongoing commitment to safeguard the inalienable rights and dignity of the human person, especially in efforts aimed at promoting greater understanding among peoples of different religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.”
The Pontiff concluded by assuring Kharrazi his “good wishes for your stay in Rome and I invoke upon you the blessings of Almighty God.”