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Iran: Envoy Says Pope Welcome To Visit Iran

The Vatican says there are currently no plans for Pope Benedict to visit Iran.
The Iranian ambassador to the Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI is welcome to visit Iran.

Ali Akbar Naseri told reporters in Rome on February 8 that "if the pope decides to come, we will welcome him in an excellent way and with enthusiasm."

The Iranian ambassador also said that Vatican envoys to the European Union could "contribute in a positive way" to defuse tensions over Iran's nuclear program.

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad issued an invitation for Benedict to visit Iran back in 2010 but the pontiff has so far not accepted, and a Vatican spokesman said on February 8 that there were no plans for a papal visit to Iran.

Compiled from agency reports