TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the international community to join hands to halt the massacre and mass expulsion of Muslims in Myanmar.

In a meeting with the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, held in Tehran on Wednesday, Zarif called for international action to stop the killing of Muslims in Myanmar and stem the tide of mass expulsion of Muslim families from the Buddhist-majority country.

The Iranian diplomat also hailed the Vatican’s efforts to settle the crisis in Myanmar.

Zarif then warned against the threat of extremism, which he said is not confined to a specific region in today’s world, and stressed the need for negotiations and constructive interaction among all religions and civilizations.

For his part, the visiting archbishop voiced the Holy See’s support for peaceful coexistence among various faiths, calling for negotiated solution to regional crises and the threat of extremism.

Gallagher also pledged that the Vatican would keep up its efforts to help settle the crisis in Myanmar.

The Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have long faced severe discrimination and were the targets of violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people from their homes to camps for the internally displaced.

Nearly 150,000 Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh in less than two weeks, officials said on Wednesday.

In a rare letter to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern that the violence in Rakhine could spiral into a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) said on Tuesday that the persecution is backed by the government, elements among the country's Buddhist monks and ultra-nationalist civilian groups.