Bilateral Dialogues with States (Iran)

Dialogue under conditions of religious and cultural diversity

The international dialogue was initiated by Prof. Dr Andreas Bsteh, SVD, Director of the St. Gabriel Institute for Theology of Religions in Mödling. Religio-politically, the initiative is also closely connected to noted personalities such as the former Foreign Minister Alois Mock and Cardinals König and Schönborn.

Following an international dialogue conference in Vienna in 1993 on "Peace for Humanity" headed by Father Bsteh, Iran suggested to pursue a bilateral dialogue.

Target Groups
The dialogue had started with Islamic and Christian scholars from Iran and Austria but is now conducted as “track 1.5”, that is, with governmental and non-governmental representatives.

The wish for a dialogue that makes shared socio-political responsibility between Christians and Muslims, based on their religious convictions, possible and brings people together across "difficulties of understanding". Contribution to SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) 4, 5, 16 and 17.

Contents of the dialogue initiative were discussed at the conferences held in Tehran and Vienna under various topics such as "Justice in International and Interreligious Relations from Islamic and Christian Perspectives" (at the 1st Iran-Austria Conference in February 1996).

The Austrian-Iranian Interreligious Dialogue (IRD) has existed for almost 30 years. Since 2015, ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr Stefan Hammer has been coordinating the activities for Austria on the academic side.


  • Seven Austrian-Iranian dialogue rounds held in 1996, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2015 and in September 2017. In 2017, the topic in Tehran was "Freedom-Human-Nature: Dialogue under the Conditions of Religious and Cultural Diversity in National and Global Perspectives.
  • Jointly edited publications on the conferences.

Form of Organization
Since 2015, the dialogue has been based on a Bilateral Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and the Organization of Islamic Culture and Relations (Iran).

The dialogue initiative is supported by the respective host, alternating between the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (Austria) and the Organization of Islamic Culture and Relations (Iran).


4-volume publication series "Iranian-Austrian Conference" (Iran-Österreich Konferenz, IÖK) in German, Persian and Arabic, edited by Father Andreas Bsteh and Seyed A. Mirdamadi:

  • ÖK 1 „Gerechtigkeit in den internationalen und interreligiösen Beziehungen in islamischer und christlicher Perspektive“ ("Justice in International and Interreligious Relations in Islamic and Christian Perspectives"), Mödling 1997, Tehran 1998.
  • ÖK 2 „Werte – Rechte – Pflichten. Grundfragen einer gerechten Ordnung des Zusammenlebens in christlicher und islamischer Sicht“ („Values - Rights - Duties. Basic Questions of a Just Order of Living Together in Christian and Islamic Perspective"), Mödling 2001, Tehran 2001.
  • ÖK 3 „Friede, Gerechtigkeit und ihre Bedrohungen in der heutigen Welt“ ("Peace, Justice and their Threats in Today's World"), Mödling 2003, Tehran 2005.
  • ÖK 4 „Hermeneutik. Thema der 4. Iranisch-Österreichischen Konferenz“ ("Hermeneutics. Theme of the 4th Iranian-Austrian Conference"), Mödling 2010.

Website | Social Media | Contacts
BMEIA - Task Force „Dialog der Kulturen“:
Website of the St. Gabriel Institute for Theology of Religions:
Austria Culture Forum Teheran:

Bundesministerium für Europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten
Minoritenplatz 8
A-1010 Wien

T: +43 0 501150 – 0


editor: ns / update: jb 2022