AKI: IRAN: POPE MAY BE INVITED TO TEHRAN
Tehran, 26 Jan. (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI could soon be invited to visit Iran, Iranian news agencies reported on Friday, citing foreign ministry sources. Though the Islamic Republic has not yet formally invited the pontiff, Iran's ambassador to the Vatican, Mohammad Javad Faridzadeh, allegedly told Benedict XVI that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country's supreme leader, Seyyed Ali Khamenei, would be happy to have him as a guest in Iran in what would become the first visit ever by a pontiff to the country.
The inauguration of the church of Hazrat Maryam - the most ancient Catholic church in Iran in Isfahan, central Iran, which is currently being renovated - could provide the right occasion for the pope's visit, Iranian sources say.
The Pope went to Turkey because he was invited by a Christian. I doubt he'd accept an invitation from Muslims for a convenient photo op. But Benedict keeps his own counsel and we shall see if anything comes of this.