10012014Wed

Iran wants closer ties with Egypt

The Associated Press

By By HAMZA HENDAWI

CAIRO (AP) — After decades of mistrust, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday his country wanted closer relations with Egypt.

He spoke at a news conference in Cairo of forging "comprehensive" and "unfettered" ties, something that if realized could mean a new and powerful alliance that could reshape the turbulent Middle East.

Ahmadinejad's visit to Egypt is the first by an Iranian leader in three decades. He used his three-stay stay to try and cement ties while attending an Islamic summit.

Warmer relations could have uncomfortable repercussions for the U.S. and its wealthy Gulf allies, giving Iran a foothold to spread its influence in Egypt — the most populous Arab country with 85 million people.

In turn, Egypt could gain an avenue to influence the fate of Syria, a key ally of Iran, as well as reap economic benefits such as increased tourism and investment.

But it is not clear how far Egypt will go in cozying up to Washington's arch foe Iran.

Former authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak, ousted in Egypt's 2011 uprising, was a key U.S. ally in the Middle East who shared Washington's deep suspicions of Iran.

The warm welcome Ahmadinejad received from President Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist elected after Mubarak, reflected Egypt's attempts to strike an independent foreign policy and reassert its historic regional leadership role.

However, it caused a backlash at home, where some among the mostly Sunni Muslim population resent what they see as Shiite Iran's bid to spread its influence in the Middle East.

Ahmadinejad played down a public admonishment by Egypt's most prominent cleric, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb, who warned on Tuesday against Iran against spreading its Shiite faith in the predominantly Sunni Muslim Middle East and demanded that it does not meddle in the affairs of Gulf Arab states.

In a goodwill gesture, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran intends to cancel visa requirements for Egyptian tourists and businessmen.

Asked whether Iran was prepared to share its nuclear technology with Egypt, Ahmadinejad dodged the question, saying only that his country would have no problem cooperating with Egypt in "technical, technological and scientific" fields.

 

Search

Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE