The man who shot the pope in 1981 has claimed that he was instructed to carry out the assassination by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Iranian revolution.

Mehmet Ali Agca fired on John Paul II in St Peters Square, but failed to kill the pontiff. The former Islamic fundamentalist claims in a new book that he was “indoctrinated” whilst in prison in Tehran where he was serving time for killing a journalist.

mehmet ali agca

Mehmet Ali Agca after his release in 2010

Then assassin said that he was told by Khomeini to kill the Polish pope.

"You have to kill the pope in the name of Allah. You have to kill the devil's mouthpiece on earth," Agca was allegedly told.

The book, entitled: “I Was Promised Paradise: My life and the truth behind the attack against the pope," has been published in Italy, and reveals details of Agca’s meeting with the the Pole in 1983.

Following the attack, the shooter said the Soviet KGB had masterminded the plot. He served 19 years in prison in Italy, and a further 10 in Turkey, before being eventually released in 2010.

While incarcerated in Italy, Agca was diagnosed with mental health problems.