News / Middle East

Iranian President Makes Landmark Visit to Egypt

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi pose for photographers in Cairo, Egypt,  February 5, 2013. (Egyptian Presidency Handout)
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi pose for photographers in Cairo, Egypt, February 5, 2013. (Egyptian Presidency Handout)
Elizabeth Arrott
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in Cairo, the first leader of the Islamic Republic to visit Egypt since the countries broke relations more than 30 years ago. Ahmadinejad embraced fellow Islamist, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, upon his arrival.

The Iranian leader is in the capital for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, but warming relations between Egypt and Iran dominated the first day of the trip.

"I will try to pave the ground for developing cooperation between Iran and Egypt," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying before the trip by Iranian state media.

Still, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb told Ahmadinejad 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. He also urged Ahmadinejad to "respect Bahrain as a sisterly Arab state" and rejected "the spread of Shi'ism" in Sunni countries.
 
While Shi'ite-led Iran does not have full diplomatic ties with Egypt, broken in 1980 over Iran's revolution and Egypt's recognition of Israel, the visit pushes the nations closer in that direction.

  • Leaders of nations taking part in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's two-day summit, which brings together leaders from across the Muslim world, pose for a group photograph in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi listens to his Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr during the opening of the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Cairo, Egypt, February 6, 2013.
  • Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, surrounded by security and members of his delegation at the 12th summit of the OIC, February 6, 2013.
  • Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi greets Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the opening OIC summit in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai attends the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (2nd R) talks with other attendees before the start of the OIC summit in Cairo February 6, 2013.
  • Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends the OIC summit in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • A man holds a sign in Arabic reading, "(Ahmedinejad) You are not welcome in Egypt", in front of the al-Azhar mosque during Ahmedinejad's visit in Cairo, February 5, 2013.
  • Photographers take pictures of Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) before the start of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi participate in an arrival ceremony at the airport in Cairo, Egypt, February 5, 2013. (Egyptian Presidency Handout)

Israel remains a factor in relations.

On the eve of his trip, Ahmadinejad told Lebanon's al- Mayadeen TV that “the political geography of the region will change” if Egypt and Iran take a unified stance on the Palestinian question.

Morsi's background as a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has translated to close ties with the Iranian-backed Palestinian faction Hamas.  But Egypt's new government says it will abide by its peace treaty with Israel.

Syria

More immediately divisive is the question of Syria. Morsi used a breakthrough visit to Tehran last year to castigate Iranian leaders for backing the Syrian government.

Iran has supported popular uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Bahrain, for example, but has come down strongly in favor of the Syrian status quo - a government led by Alawites, a Shi'ite offshoot.

Despite the differences, some political observers believe Iran is keen to nurture ties with Egyptian Islamists to act as a regional counterweight to Tehran's rivals in the Sunni-led Arab states of the Gulf.

"Iran has tried, by getting closer to Egypt, to eliminate the Gulf and to give a much more regional role to Egypt and, in this way, they supported the Muslim Brotherhood leadership,” said Abdulaziz Sager, the head of the Saudi-based Gulf Research Center.

Still, Egypt has practical concerns, including monetary support from the Gulf in the form of direct aid and emigrant workers' remittances.

It also is trying to keep relations on course with the United States, another source of aid and the driving force to isolate Iran over its nuclear program.

Political observers say such thorny issues mean that while cooperation between Egypt and Iran may be on the rise, full relations appear still a ways off.

VOA wire services contributed to this report.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
February 05, 2013 9:59 AM
Birds from the same feather flock together..Is the united state senator understand the danger of Muslim fanatic?. senator Paul want to stop sending weapon to Egypt, ,His resolution did not pass. .most of the senator are lawyer and all their knowledge are (it does not fit has to quit) . Now it will be cooperation between Iran and Egypt. Egypt want money by any means necessary and they looking for partner to advocate the Islamic empire which moersi believe is only way to feed 90 million Egyptian . the Islamic empire will trigger the third world war which return the planet earth to stone age


by: Dr. Assum Maktawi from: Egypt
February 05, 2013 8:19 AM
i dont think Egyptians appreciate this Iranian buffoon. he is generally regarded as a joke or worse - a comic relief...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid