Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami met with Pope Benedict XVI for talks the Vatican hoped would help heal tensions left from the pope's remarks on Islam and violence, but the Iranian said the wounds were still very deep.
Khatami, a reformist in power from 1997 to 2005, had been scheduled to meet with Benedict in October but the meeting was canceled. No reason was given, but it was just weeks after Benedict's speech in Germany about Islam touched off protests across the Muslim world.
On Friday, the two men spoke about the importance of "a serene dialogue between cultures intended to overcome the grave tensions that mark our times," the Vatican said in a statement after Khatami's 30-minute meeting with Benedict.
But visiting a Catholic university in Rome before going into the talks, Khatami said that "unfortunately the wounds of this world are very deep and they cannot be healed easily and a single meeting may not be enough," the ANSA news agency quoted him as responding to a question about Benedict's speech.