Iranian warships 311 Reuters.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
CAIRO - Egypt has detained an Iranian who worked at Iran's diplomatic mission in Cairo, security sources said on Saturday, in a potential setback to improving ties between the two countries.
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Al Arabiya television named the man as Kassem al-Hosseini and described him as a diplomat who had been detained for "passing information", without giving more details.
Two security sources confirmed the detention to Reuters and one of them confirmed the charge. Neither gave details of his diplomatic status or name. They said he was detained earlier this week.
Ties between the two states -- severed after Iran's 1979 Islamic
revolution and after Egypt made peace with Israel -- had recently been
warming. Although they do not have full diplomatic relations, each has a
mission in the other's capital.
Egypt's Foreign Ministry said it had no immediate information on the case.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby said after meeting an Iranian
official in Cairo in April that Egypt was open to re-establishing
diplomatic relations, marking a shift in policy since a popular uprising
toppled President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11.
Under Mubarak, a close ally of the United States who regularly met top
Israeli officials, Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Egypt had sparred for
influence in the Middle East.
In February, after Mubarak was deposed, two Iranian warships passed
through Egypt's Suez Canal with approval from the military rulers in
Cairo, the first such crossing since the Islamic revolution. Israel
called Iran's move a provocation.