World News

Egypt's Top Cleric Rebuffs Iranian President on Gulf

Egypt's top Muslim cleric told visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday that his Shi'ite-led government must refrain from interfering in the affairs of Gulf Arab states and must give full rights to Sunnis living in Iran.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of the al-Azhar mosque, also urged Mr. Ahmadinejad to "respect Bahrain as a sisterly Arab state" and rejected "the spread of Shi'ism" in Sunni countries.

The two met on the first visit by an Iranian head of state to Egypt since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The countries severed relations when Cairo offered exile to Iran's deposed shah. The relationship deteriorated further following Egypt's peace agreement with Israel.



Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi greeted Mr. Ahmadinejad with a handshake and a kiss on each cheek as he stepped off his plane at the Cairo airport.

Security officials said the two leaders held a 20-minute talk that focused on the civil war in Syria. Iran is Damascus' closest regional ally, while Egypt is among those that have called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

The Iranian president will attend a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which begins Wednesday in Cairo.

Feature Story

Pro-democracy protesters stand in heavy rain while blocking a main road at Mongkok shopping district in Hong Kong, October 22, 2014.

Audio VOA Exclusive: US Democracy Group Rebuts Hong Kong Meddling Allegations

Chinese state media and pro-Beijing news outlets in Hong Kong have published a series of articles in recent days, accusing the National Endowment for Democracy of funding and advising the protesters More

Special Reports