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  • FILE - This Dec. 27, 1983 file photo provided by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, shows Pope John Paul II, left, talking with his would-be assassin Mehmet Ali Agca, of Turkey, in Agca's prison cell in Rome. The Turkish gunman who shot Pope John Paul II has changed his story once again, saying in a new autobiography that Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini personally told him to kill the pope. Mehmet Ali Agca writes in "They Promised Me Paradise,'' released Thursday Feb. 1, 2013 in Italy, that he was trained in Iran by Khomeini's forces after escaping from a Turkish prison, and that the Iranian leader himself told him to kill John Paul in the name of God. (AP Photo/Arturo Mari, L'Osservatore Romano)

Friday, February 01, 2013 12:34 pm

Vatican dismisses Iranian link to pope shooting

The Associated Press

The Vatican is dismissing Mehmet Ali Agca's latest claim about who ordered him to assassinate Pope John Paul II.

The Turkish gunman, who has changed his account many times, writes in "They Promised Me Paradise," released Thursday in Italy, that Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the killing and that he was trained to carry it out by Khomeini's forces after he escaped from a Turkish prison.

Agca says he told John Paul of the Iranian connection when he visited him in prison.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the book was clearly a publicity stunt and that "practically everything I was able to verify is false."

Agca shot and wounded John Paul on May 13, 1981, in St. Peter's Square. He was released from prison in 2010.