Monday, July 15, 2013

Although Iran deems the recent popular-backed military ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi “unacceptable”, analysts believe the move is unlikely to affect future relations between Egypt and Iran

    Monday, July 15, 2013   No comments

The first official Iranian reaction came five days after Morsi’s removal earlier this month, when Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said on July 8 that “the intervention of the Egyptian armed forces in political affairs is unacceptable and disturbing.”

Two days later, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry labeled the Iranian reaction as “unacceptable interference,” adding it was based on Iranian misunderstanding of the Egyptian domestic developments.

Analysts say Iran seems to have reconsidered its position and thought it might not want to base its ties with Egypt on Morsi’s issue, which is shown by the recent statement of Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi in which he urged Egyptian political groups to consolidate national unity.

“Egypt’s fate should be determined by its own nation and any decision made by the Egyptian people should be respected by all,” Salehi told his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr in a phone call Thursday, adding that “the Islamic republic has always sought and will seek the best relations with Egypt.”

Ambassador Mahmoud Farag, Egypt’s former charge d’affaires in Tehran, told Xinhua that he does not expect the ouster of Morsi to negatively affect the gradual normalization of the Egyptian-Iranian ties that suffered a three-decade rift.

“I do not think Morsi’s removal will affect ties with Iran, which are already stagnant for other reasons including the positions on the Syrian crisis and the ideological differences between Egyptian Sunnis and Iranian Shiites,” the ex-diplomat explained.

Ties between Egypt and Iran were cut off after Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. But after Egyptians in early 2011 ousted Hosni Mubarak, “a breakthrough” in the tense Egyptian-Iranian ties emerged.

The icy bilateral relations started to thaw after ousted Morsi paid his first visit to Tehran last August to attend the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, which was followed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Cairo in February to attend an Islamic conference.

Farag said that the relations between the two did not witness a great development except for exchanging diplomatic visits.

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