Iranian President Hassan Rohani, who is currently in Italy, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Tuesday January 26.
At the meeting, which according to AFP lasted 40 minutes, the Pope reportedly expressed his concerns about the growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and prayed for peace in the Middle East.
Pope Francis reportedly highlighted Iran’s potential to play a positive role in ending the Syrian conflict and supporting stability in the region.
The Pope and the Iranian president reportedly exchanged a number of gifts. Hassan Rohani offered the Pope a red-hued Persian rug from Qom, while the Pope gave the Iranian president a medal that depicts St. Martin de Tours cutting his cloak in half and giving part of it to a shivering man, describing it as a symbol of unconditional brotherhood.
In 2013, the Vatican congratulated Rohani on his election victory and has been supportive of the nuclear agreement process between Iran and the 5+1.
Rohani and his delegation are on a four-day visit to Italy and France. He will leave Rome for Paris to meet with French President Francois Hollande.