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London: archbishop meets senior Iranian cleric

 Archbishop Patrick Kelly, Acting Chairman of the International Affairs Department of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, met today with Ayatollah Mahmood Mohammadi Araqi, the President of the Organisation of Culture and Islamic Relations (OCIR) of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The meeting at Archbishop's House, Westminster continued a dialogue that Archbishop Kelly, who is Archbishop of Liverpool, began with Ayatollah Araqi in February as part of a visit the Archbishop made to Iran when he was the guest of the Iranian Christian community in Tehran, Isfahan and Bam. The archbishop and Ayatollah Araqi discussed interfaith relations as well as the humanitarian situation in Bam following the earthquake that devastated the city in December. It is hoped that the next meeting between the Bishops' Conference and the OCIR will take place in Iran during 2005. Archbishop Kelly said: "No one can doubt at this time the complexity and the necessity of inter-religious conversation, dialogue and reflection if justice and so peace is to be secured not only across the Middle East but far wider afield. "I am grateful that the Ayatollah Araqi chose to give time during his brief visit to this country to affirm the importance of our meeting in February and to make clear that such meetings must not only continue but go to ever-greater depths." Source: CCS