Khatami is regarded as one of the most senior Muslim figures to have met the
pontiff since his controversial remarks on Islam last year. In a speech in
Germany last September, Benedict infuriated Muslims across the world by
appearing to equate their religion with violence. Benedict has since sought to
make amends and pleased many Muslims last December with a highly-symbolic visit
to Istanbul's Blue Mosque.
From an other CWN article we read:
Khatami had originally planned to visit the Vatican in October 2006, but he
postponed his visit because of the angry reaction among Islamic leaders to the
Pope's lecture at Regensburg in September. Prior to his meeting with the Pontiff
today, Khatami told reporters that the tensions between Christians and Muslims
remain "very deep."
In speaking with the Iranian leader, the Pope called
attention to the severe difficulties that Christians face in the Islamic
countries of the Middle East, and specifically in Iran. The Vatican statement
did not mention Khatami's response to the Pope on that point.
and the Iranian ex-president spent some time discussing the prospects for
international peacemaking efforts in the Middle East, and the initiatives under
discussion at this week's meetings in Sharm al Sheikh, Egypt.