News / Middle East

Egyptian President's Iran Trip Signals New Priorities

Egypt's New President Heads to Tehran for Talksi
|| 0:00:00
X
Elizabeth Arrott
August 29, 2012 4:18 PM
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi goes to Iran Thursday, the latest stop on a tour of nations broadening the scope of Egypt's foreign ties. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from our Middle East bureau in Cairo.
Elizabeth Arrott
CAIRO — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi goes to  Iran Thursday, the first visit by an Egyptian leader since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. 

Morsi's trip breaks an alienation dating back to Egypt's recognition of Israel and its welcome to Iran's deposed Shah.

The visit is pegged to the technical point of handing over the rotating leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement.  And there has been no word of when and if full diplomatic relations will be restored. But the symbolism has concerned countries trying to isolate Iran - in particular, Egypt's long-time ally the United States.

Egyptian member of parliament Manar Shorbagy says her nation's evolving foreign policy should come as no surprise.

"I think that people around the world expect that Egypt after the revolution is not Egypt before the revolution and there should be changes, not just in national politics but also in foreign policy," she said.

She says Morsi's trip does not mean Egypt's full-fledged approval of Iran. The two countries take opposite sides on Syria, for example, - with Iran supporting the government.  But when the Egyptian president suggested regional talks on ending the conflict, he pointedly included Iran.

"We do have differences with other countries, and we do have relations with them," Shorbagy. "So, I don’t see why exactly we wouldn't have any interest in having relations with Iran as Egyptians. I think from now on the world will have to deal with Egypt that has its own interests defined by its people."

High on that list of interests is business, and Morsi has been traveling to Gulf Arab states, to China, and is opening the border to Sudan, all in pursuit of better trade relations and a boost to the faltering Egyptian economy.

Abdullah al Ashaal is a veteran diplomat and Morsi supporter.  He says that although Iran is an important regional power, he tried to persuade Morsi not to make the trip.

“The timing is very bad because now the conference has become a hot issue between the United States and Iran," he said. "Why should you seem to be tilting toward Iran against the United States?  Why you put your name on the blacklist of the United States for nothing?  What will be the benefits for you?”

Al Ashaal believes Egypt is heading toward normalized relations with Iran, but also thinks the apparent closeness could be a bargaining chip in an increasingly sophisticated game of international relations. Morsi will visit the United States in September.

"If Egypt doesn't normalize with Iran, what will be the return from Israel and the United States?  As you know, international politics is like international commerce,” he said.

Whatever the future of Egypt's ties to Iran, al Ashaal predicts the days of other countries dictating what Egypt will do are over.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid