Raffaele Marchetti on Pope Francis, Middle East and Iran

On the eve of Hassan Rouhani visit to Vatican Raffaele Marchetti, professor of international relations at Luiss University, said to The Independent that Pope Francis recognized that bringing Tehran in from the cold was key to resolving conflicts in the Middle East.

He said the Vatican’s concerns centered on violence against Christians, the central role of Jerusalem, and the nearness of the Middle East to Rome. “I think he will succeed in becoming an important mediator between Western powers and Tehran,” he said. “The Vatican is determined to help relations between Tehran and Sunni Islam, even if bringing change to Saudi Arabia will be more difficult.”

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