Will Pope Francis Broker A Hajj Deal Between Iran & Saudi Arabia?

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

History of Pope Francis & Iran from January of this year:
Pope Francis meets Iranian President Rouhani 
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday received in audience at the Vatican, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the two leaders held talks on problems in the Middle East, the fight against terrorism, interreligious dialogue and arms trafficking and other issues. The meeting between the Pope and President Rouhani is the first of its kind since 1999 when Pope St. John Paul II received in audience at the Vatican the then Iranian president Mohammad Khatami. 
A statement released afterwards by the Holy See’s Press Office said Pope Francis and President Rouhani discussed bilateral relations, problems afflicting the Middle East area including the recently-signed Iran nuclear agreement and other international issues. Following his 40-minute private audience with the Pope, President Rouhani met with the (Vatican) Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin who was accompanied by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

The Vatican statement said “during the cordial discussions, common spiritual values emerged and reference was made to the good state of relations between the Holy See and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the life of the Church in the country and the action of the Holy See to favour the promotion of the dignity of the human person and religious freedom.” 
"Attention then turned to the conclusion and application of the Nuclear Accord and the important role that Iran is called upon to fulfil, along with other countries in the region, to promote suitable political solutions to the problems afflicting the Middle East, to counter the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking. In this respect, the Parties highlighted the importance of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious communities in promoting reconciliation, tolerance and peace.” 
Following their talks, President Rouhani gave the Pope the gift of a hand-made rug from the Iranian holy city of Qhom and a book with miniatures. The Pope’s gift to the Iranian leader was a medal depicting St. Martin cutting his cloak in two to give one half to a poor man to keep him warm and he called the saint's act "a sign of unsolicited brotherhood." He also gave President Rouhani a copy of his latest encyclical Laudato Si.

Did Pope Francis & Rouhani discuss the upcoming Hajj?  No. Probably not.

It was not until mid-May that Iran announced a ban for all its citizens on all travel to 2016 Hajj.
Iran bans own citizens from performing Hajj

Iran will ban its citizens from going to Saudi Arabia this year to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage, international news agencies quoted an Iranian official as announcing Thursday, According to the Associated Press (AP), the Iranian Minister of Cultural and Islamic Guidance, Ali Jannati, blamed travel to Saudi Arabia for failing to “resolve the issue of security” in the months-long discussions which took place between the two countries. Jannati said in comments carried by AP: “They [the Saudis] did not accept our proposals concerning the issuing of visas or security and transport of the Iranian pilgrims.” . Tensions between the two regional powers escalated even more last year when an accident occurred during the annual Hajj season, resulting in the deaths of a number of Iranians who were among the causalities of the accident. Alarabiya Read More>>>>>>>
Reason for Hajj ban?

Because of the dead - about 2500 dead from the 24 September 2016 stampede - most of the deaths were Iranians:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed feelings of closeness to his Muslim brothers and sisters. 
The Pope’s words came before the homily during the celebration of Vespers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Turning his attention to the stampede that on Thursday killed more than 700 pilgrims and injured at least 863 during the annual hajj pilgrimage on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia as Muslims around the world marked the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday. 
He said he would have wished that his greeting to his Muslim brothers and sisters as they celebrate the Feast of Sacrifice could have been warmer, but in solemn tones he expressed his closeness to all Muslims "in the face of the tragedy" suffered in the Mecca, and assured them of his prayers and closeness.
Pope's history with the Saudis

This in September 2015:


Yea.....that's right, the Saudis ban National Geographic featuring Pope Francis on the cover

April 2013:

Pope Francis did meet with Saudi Ambassador Mohammed Al Ghamdi who gave Pope Francis a  personal message from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. 

No one knows what was in that message to the pope.

If and when Pope Francis is called to broker a deal between the two Muslim Nations I bet the Iranians get the better deal.


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