Iranian president expresses respect for pope

September 19, 2006 04:20

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that he respected Pope Benedict XVI, apparently downplaying the pontiff's remarks regarding Islam and holy war. "Regarding the issue of the Pope's comments, we respect the pope and all of those who are interested in peace and justice," Ahmadinejad told a press conference as he wrapped up a two-day visit to Venezuela. The Iranian leader's comments came a day after the pope apologized for the angry response to a speech he gave last week, quoting a medieval text characterizing some of the Prophet Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman." Benedict said on Sunday that he was "deeply sorry" his speech offended Muslims, and that those words did not reflect his own opinions.

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