White House won’t rule out using Pope in Iran negotiations

The White House is not ruling out using Pope Francis as a means of making contact and negotiating with Iran’s government.

The question of using Francis arose when a media outlet noted he has extensive contacts with the Iranian government in Tehran and that President Joe Biden has an excellent relationship with the pontiff.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki (pictured) discussed the administration’s willingness to “sit at a table and have a diplomatic conversation, because we are looking to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and we believe diplomacy is the best way to do that.”

Having said that, Psaki went on to say:

“We’re going to work in partnership and through the P5+1 partners and allies we worked through for the first round of the … JCPOA together.”

The JCPOA is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the Iran nuclear agreement scrapped by the Trump administration.

“We’re waiting, at this point, to hear back” from Iran, Psaki said.

“The Europeans are waiting to hear back from the Iranians on whether they are open to that diplomatic conversation. So, really, the discussions are at that stage at this point.”

Asked whether the pope would be involved in the process, Psaki replied: “I certainly would never claim to speak for Pope Francis or any pope. And you can certainly reach out to the Vatican if they have intention of getting engaged in some capacity.”

The pope has had a long and cordial relationship with Iran’s spiritual and political leadership.

In 2016, he welcomed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the Vatican.

Last year, Iran’s Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad Ahmadabadi wrote him to “humbly ask you, as a beloved world leader of Catholics, to intervene so that those [U.S.] sanctions are eliminated.”


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