Joel Hunter, a man who says he helps President Barack Obama "get closer to God," recently visited Iran to discuss religious tolerance and will brief the White House on his journey.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
reported that Hunter, a senior pastor of Northland Church in Florida, led a delegation of U.S. religious leaders to the Islamic republic, known for its oppression towards its religious minorities. The trip included a visit to the holy city of Qom.
The report says that Hunter will brief Obama on the details of his trip and says he is prepared to deal with the fallout from groups who oppose discussions with a country accused of "serious human rights abuses."
"That's part of how we make progress, is that those of us who know we're going to be blamed by some of the hardliners, for even having these conversations," Hunter told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. "We believe it's worth the risk because we're not going to make progress as countries or even as religious communities for not talking to one another."
"We believe that we have something in common and out of the commonality of our religious communities, we can build the kind of relationship and trust that politics simply can't," he said. "Only through religious leadership or the exchange of religious leaders, we believe peace is going to be successfully built between our two countries."
The United States broke its diplomatic ties with Iran following the 1979 revolution.
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