03/08/2021, 09.33
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Iranian media applauds Pope and al-Sistani 'peace' meeting

Reformist, moderate and conservative newspapers give ample coverage to the meeting between the two leaders in Najaf. Seen as an opportunity for a breakthrough with a view to detente in Iraq. the newspaper "Sazandegi" describes the leaders as "standard bearers of world peace". Their personal encounter "the most effective event" in a perspective of "dialogue between religions".

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The historic March 6 ‘opportunity for peace’ meeting in Najaf between the great Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Pope Francis is dominating headlines in Iranian media.

Press in the Islamic Republic are applauding the key event in the Pope’s apostolic journey to Iraq which ended today. The news was the opening headline of the newspapers and media outlets of the Islamic Republic yesterday, some of which spoke of opportunities for a breakthrough with a view to detente in the neighbouring country, marked by years of war and violence.

The Sazandegi newspaper, close to the reformist wing, stresses that the two religious leaders are today "the standard-bearers of world peace". And he called their face in the house of the Shiite spiritual leader "the most effective event [in the history of] dialogue between religions".

Another reformist daily, Shargh, said it was "a symbolic spectacle showing the importance of cooperation between followers of different religions". "Victory for Shiism and Christianity," wrote the government-run Iran daily in a front-page column, saying that the pope's visit showed that "Christianity is alive in Iraq" despite the "suffering" caused by the IS [formerly Islamic State].

The conservative newspapers explain that the return of security in Iraq which has permitted the apostolic journey to go ahead in spite of some recent episodes of bloodshed, is the result of the commitment of the "resistance" forces, recalling the call to arms in 2014 against Daesh, by al-Sistani.

"Pope Francis and many Western countries - writes the ultraconservative Resalat - "Pope Francis and many western countries must be aware that this freedom (to travel to Iraq) owes much to the blood of the courageous youth of the resistance axis and the wisdom of the Shiite authority.” The meeting could be "a valuable opportunity for peace and to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people, especially the Christians affected by the Islamic State's invasion".

Finally, Kayhan, another publication close to the ultra-conservative wing, stated that "the security of Iraqi Christians" and Muslims was made possible through the "sacrifice" of "young Iraqis" commanded by Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and his deputy Hashed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020.

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