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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora