Iran Aspires to Lead the Muslim World

The meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Iran's former president Khatami is another example of Iranian aspirations to lead the Muslim world.

Pope Benedict XVI met Friday with Iran's former president, Mohammad Khatami, hoping it would help healing the wounds of the Muslim world, which got offended by the Pope's speech in Germany, last fall. In his speech the Pope quoted a medieval Byzantine emperor referring to Islam as "evil and inhuman."

Khatami stated that "the wounds of the [Muslim] world are very deep and can't be closed easily"; hence both, Pope Benedict XVI and Khatami, stressed the importance of inter-cultural dialogue and overcoming the grave tensions that mark our times.

According to Reut analysis, a central component of Iranian hegemony is its aspiration to lead the Muslim world. In this context, the Pope's meeting with Iranian ex-president Khatami portrays Iran as the representative of the Muslim world.

Sources:

IHT, 5/40/07, full article.

Victor Simpson, Boston Globe, 5/5/07, full article.