Catholicos Aram I Meets With Iran’s Khatami

TEHRAN (IRNA)–President Mohammad Khatami told His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia Monday that Iran considers dialogue as the most humane aspect of human beings and attaches special value to dialogue amongst religions.

Thanking the Catholicos for his support for Iran at the international communities–President Khatami said that his presence in Iran indicates active presence of Armenia’s in the country and experience of co-existence among Muslims–Armenia’s and other religions.

President Khatami said the fact is that divine religions are not in conflict with each other in nature and that clashes among them have always been imposed on the believers from beyond the realm of belief and truth of religions.

Islamic civilization is indebted to thinkers and scholars of Islam and other religions–said Khatami.

Disputes are either rooted in ignorant prejudices or in political issues imposed from outside–said the president–adding that therefore–politics should be submissive to religion–logic and ration.

He said there are efforts in Iran to solve problems through cooperation and collaboration with Armenian compatriots and other religious minorities.

“… I am proud of being president of all Iranians–including the dear Armenia’s–and of defending rights of them all; I hope that problems–if any–would be eliminated gradually,” he added.

He said Lebanon is a successful model of peaceful co-existence among followers of various religions.

Touching on plots hatched to remove unity through provocation of religious differences–Khatami called on religious and political officials in Lebanon to protect such unity.

Aram I said for his part that the council of community of churches has formed a special committee this year for religious dialogue and the only representative of the body in the Middle East is an Iranian bishop.

He said the community of Armenia’s in Iran enjoy all civil and political rights and are well-organized. The community has always been a source of proud for the community of Armenia’s worldwide–he added.

Armenia’s in Iran play a grave role among the world Armenia’s and are ambassadors of Iran in the community of the world Armenia’s.

He said Iran is today an influential country in the international arena. He added that he considered Iran its land because he feels great solidarity with community of Iranian-Armenia’s.

On Sunday–a seminar to highlight the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christian Armenia’s opened in Tehran–presided over by the Catholicos.

In his opening message to the seminar–Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ayatollah Mohajerani said that the holding of the seminar is an acknowledgment of a fundamental need in today’s world.

Underlining the need for dialog among different religions–the message said that through dialogue divine religions could achieve unity and unanimity.

Likewise–in his address before seminar participants–the Catholicos expressed his joy at being in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He said that in spite of all differences "We all have been created by one God."

Welcoming the idea of dialog among civilizations first initiated by President Mohammad Khatami and approved by the United Nations–he stated that the president’s proposal for 2001 to be named "Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations" will be a turning point in human history.

Aram I further underlined the need for dialogue among all divine religions and said such has been ordained by God.

Referring to Armenia’s living in Iran as members of the Iranian society–he said that Armenia’s do not consider themselves a minority in the Islamic Republic.

He further expressed his satisfaction with the living conditions of Armenia’s in Iran and stressed that their living conditions are desirable.

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