Reuters: Egypt and Iran held rare talks at senior official level in Cairo on Tuesday and Egypt said dialogue would continue on restoring full diplomatic relations, broken off after the Iranian revolution in 1979. CAIRO, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Egypt and Iran held rare talks at senior official level in Cairo on Tuesday and Egypt said dialogue would continue on restoring full diplomatic relations, broken off after the Iranian revolution in 1979.
One diplomat, who asked not to be named, said Iran would seek Egyptian support on its nuclear programme, which Tehran says is peaceful. Egypt has a seat on the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Western powers, led by the United States, accuse Iran of using its nuclear power programme as a screen for development of nuclear arms.
Egypt and Iran maintain interests sections in Tehran and Cairo and their ministers interact at international gatherings, but their senior officials do not often exchange visits.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi had talks with Egyptian counterparts at the Cairo Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, official sources said.
“The purpose of the talks is to upgrade the existing diplomatic ties to the level of ambassador,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said.
“But it’s not new… They have come here before and we have been talking to them,” he added.
Egypt and Iran came close to restoring full diplomatic relations in late 2003, but the Iranians failed to meet an Egyptian demand that they remove a commemorative mural in Tehran of Khaled al-Islambouli, leader of the group which assassinated former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981.