TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered condolences over the demise of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, a top Vatican diplomat and expert in interfaith relations who died recently at the age of 75.

In a message to Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican's secretary for relations with states, released on Monday, Zarif expressed deep sorrow over the passing away of Cardinal Tauran who was also the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID).

“This cultivated person (Tauran), who was one of the scientific and religious figures of ‘the Holy See’, endeavored to create a solidarity between all the followers of monotheistic religions and interfaith dialogue…,” he said in the message.

The Iranian top diplomat also sympathized with the Catholic Christians in Iran and around the world and prayed for the deceased.

Cardinal Tauran, who announced the election of Pope Francis to the world in 2013 with the famous phrase "habemus papam (we have a pope)," died on Thursday at 75.

He had been in the United States, seeking treatment for Parkinson's disease. He had the condition for years, but continued his globe-trotting diplomacy to improve the Vatican's relations with the Muslim world.

In a condolence message sent to Tauran's sister Friday, Francis praised the cardinal's "courageous" years of service to the Catholic Church "despite the weight of illness."