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Eleven women around the table

· Delegation from Iran visits the Vatican ·

For the first time in the history of bilateral relations a vice-president led an all-female delegation to the Vatican. On 12 February Shahindokht Molaverdi of the Islamic Republic of Iran came to Rome and discussed with Pope Francis and the Holy See dicasteries how to defend the family and promote the role of women in society and in international politics. 

Today women are increasingly the victims of violence and fundamentalism and yet they are the ones who can radically change society. The delegation first met with the Pontifical Council for the Family. Then the group entered the Vatican and met with the Pontiff. During the round table discussion, moderated by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, 10 women - five from the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by Vice-President Molaverdi, and five Vatican representatives – discussed issues linked to the female identity and the family. In addition to the Vice-President, the delegation from Iran included: Zohreh Sefati, counsellor on issues regarding Islamic law; Ashraf Gheramizadegan, head of legal matters; Aliye Shokrbeighi, secretary of a working group for healthy families, Fatemeh Rahmati, counsellor for international issues; and Atefeh Karbalaei, journalist at Iranian Students' News Agency. The representatives of the Vatican were: Flaminia Giovannelli, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Sr Mary Melone, Rector of the Pontifical Antonianum University; Lucetta Scaraffia, columnist at our newspaper and head of "Women Church World"; Myriam Tinti, professor of canon law; and Giulia Galeotti of our newspaper.

On the national day of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Archbishop Paglia performed a small miracle: 11 women around one table discussing women's issue. It was a situation which cannot be taken for granted but which was terribly auspicious.

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