TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sent a message to Pope Benedict XVI urging greater understanding between religions.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki arrived in the Vatican City Wednesday to deliver in person Ahmadinejad’s message, his latest letter in a series of missives to world leaders, the official news agency IRNA reported.
“It is not a political letter,” explained Ehsan Jahandideh of the Iranian president’s press office.
“President Ahmadinejad insisted in his letter on the common teachings of the prophets and the importance of establishing new political and human relations based on those teachings.
“The unjust relations that exist at the moment require the cooperation of different religions to remedy them,” Jahandideh quoted the letter as saying.
IRNA said that Mottaki was scheduled to deliver the message at noon to Pope Benedict, who was accused of linking Islam to violence in a controversial lecture earlier this year.
The Iranian president has written a succession of letters in recent months to explain his world view. In November, Ahmadinejad wrote a letter to the US people, in which he urged the 144,000 US troops to leave Iraq.
He also wrote a letter in July to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, complaining that Germany was being exploited by “greedy Zionists”, more than 60 years after World War II.
In the first such move, the firebrand leader penned an angry missive to US President George W. Bush in May, lashing out at the US-led invasion of Iraq, questioning Israel’s right to exist and telling Bush to be more pious.