It should be noted that Egypt cut ties with Iran when Iran named a main boulevard in its capital city after the man who shot Sadat because Sadat made peace with Israel. The fact that the Brotherhood desires renewed and stronger ties with Iran is a very strong statement on many levels not the least of which is a move against nationalism and towards a caliphate, even if the Sunni/Shia schism remains unresolved.
Egypt‘s Islamist President-elect Mohamed Morsi voiced interest in restoring long-severed ties with Tehran to create a strategic “balance” in the region, in an interview published on Monday with Iran‘s Fars news agency.
Morsi’s comments are likely to unsettle Western powers as they try to isolate Iran over its disputed nuclear program, which they suspect it is using to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Tehran denies this.
Since former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a popular uprising last year, both countries have signalled their interest in renewing ties which were severed more than 30 years ago.
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“We must restore normal relations with Iran based on shared interests, and expand areas of political coordination and economic cooperation because this will create a balance of pressure in the region,” Morsi was quoted as saying in a transcript of the interview.
Fars said it had spoken to Morsi a few hours before Sunday’s announcement that declared him the winner of Egypt’s presidential election.
Asked to comment on reports that, if elected, his first state visit would be to Riyadh, Morsi said: “I didn’t say such a thing and until now my first international visits following my victory in the elections have not been determined.”
Rivalry between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran has been intensified by the “Arab Spring” revolts, which have redrawn the political map of the Middle East and left the powerful Gulf neighbors vying for influence.
Iran hailed Morsi’s victory over former general Ahmed Shafik in Egypt’s first free presidential election as a “splendid vision of democracy” that marked the country’s “Islamic Awakening”.
Western diplomats say in reality Egypt has little real appetite to significantly change relations with Iran, given the substantial issues the new president already has to face in cementing relations with regional and global powers.