Middle East

Iran president thanks Pope for condemning Koran threat

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pictured in Tehran 2 October
Image caption Mr Ahmadinejad said the pastor's threat to burn the Koran had "hurt the hearts of millions of Muslims"

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written to the Pope, thanking him for condemning an American pastor's threat to burn the Koran last month.

In his letter, Mr Ahmadinejad also called for closer co-operation between Iran and the Vatican.

Florida pastor Terry Jones was planning to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

He called it off after world leaders including US President Barack Obama and the Pope strongly condemned the plan.

The threat alone had sparked protests around the world.

President Ahmadinejad thanked Pope Benedict XVI for his stance in condemning a plan which he said "hurt the hearts of millions of Muslims".

The letter was delivered to the pontiff by the Iranian Vice President, Mohammad Reza Mirtajodini, and a copy of it is on the president's website.

Mr Ahmadinejad also called for "a close co-operation of divine religions to restrict destructive moves such as ignoring of religious teachings, influencing people to be materialistic, which were eroding human societies".

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