Iran appointed its first ambassador to Egypt in over thirty years, Iranian TV network PressTV reported Monday. According to the report, the appointment comes amid a thawing of relations between the two countries, which were strained since just after the Iranian revolution in 1979.
The new ambassador's appointment reportedly came after negotiations between Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Egyptian counterpart Nabil al-Arabi.
Relations between the two countries became strained after the 1979
Islamic Revolution in Iran when Iran cut ties with Egypt. Iran's move at
the time was based on Egypt's participation in the 1978 Camp David
Accords, and remained cold throughout the 1980s due to Egyptian support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War.
Relations stayed strained throughout much of former Egyptian president
Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule. The Iranian government dedicated a street in Tehran to Khaled al-Islambouli, the man who assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. In 2001, BBC
reported that Iran had for the second time honored Islambouli in a large mural with the words "I killed Egypt's Pharaoh." These public dedications of Sadat's assassin were reportedly why Mubarak had refused a 2004 invitation to Tehran.
February 2011, however, saw Mubarak ousted following a wave of protests across Egypt. Since then, relations
between the two countries have begun to warm. Iran's top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said soon after the uprisings in Egypt saw Mubarak deposed that protests there and in Tunisia are a sign of "Islamic awareness" across the region.
In late February, Egypt allowed two Iranian naval vessels
through the Suez Canal en route to Syria which, according to Egyptian
, was the first time Iran had requested such passage in 30 years.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil el-Arabi has stated publicly his desire to improve the two countries' ties, stating in his first new
conference following his appointment that Egypt was willing to resume
relations with Tehran, no longer viewed as an enemy state, Al-Ahram
reported. Arabi said that "Iran is an important country and we are bound by historic ties with it."
Reuters contributed to this report.