From the Vatican to Najaf … the Pope’s visit annoyed Tehran

A visit sparked Pope FrancisThe spiritual leader of the Catholic Christians in the world, for Iraq, as his first foreign trip since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, has a lot of internal, regional and global reactions.

This visit placed Iraq again on the top of the news bulletins of the international media, but with the headlines of peace, tolerance and friendship between religions and not the suicide and missile attacks.

The visit was widely welcomed by the Iraqi people, whether in the streets or even on communication sites, as they were inspired by his word, the hashtag # Silence Weapons.

It is clear that the Iraqi government considers this trip a great victory for it, as was evident in the official reception arranged by the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, who wanted to deliver a message that Iraq is trying to gradually move towards building a state that transcends sectarianism and defends the rights of minorities, and meets the demands of promoting reconciliation. And peace between religions.

The Pope’s meeting with the Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani, and his conversation with him about peace and friendship between religions, was a great victory for the Najaf authority, and an inconvenience to the Iranian regime emerged in the Iranian media’s disregard for the visit.

Ignore the visit in the media

Major newspapers such as “Kayhan” of the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, “Jawan” of the Revolutionary Guards, or “Khorasan” and “Jam Jam” and others, did not cover the visit, and some of them attacked the visit.

These newspapers had criticized the reference Sistani for not receiving the head of the Iranian judiciary, Ibrahim Raisi, who visited Iraq last month.

Al-Murshid’s advisor newspaper attacked the visit

But a newspaper such as “Verhekhkan” run by Ali Akbar Velayati, the guide’s advisor for international affairs, described the Pope’s visit as a “conspiracy,” and wrote that it “comes within the framework of attempts to establish Israel’s existence under the pretext of spreading the peace speech.”

The newspaper also claimed that the Pope had come to Iraq with the aim of “spreading Christianity and expanding the influence of Christians in Iraq.”

It is evident from the official Iranian media coverage of the Pope’s visit that the Iranian regime is disturbed by this event for several reasons, not the first of which is its record of repressing minorities, not the last of which is the results of its disastrous interventions in Iraq and the countries of the region under the slogan “Jerusalem Road passes through Karbala.”

Many observers believed that one of the most important results of the Pope’s visit to Sistani is the return of Shiite centralism to Najaf, as the Iranian regime has always considered Sistani’s influence as a weakening of him and a decline in the status of the Qom seminary.


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