Egypt welcomes Iran overtures to restore ties

Ahmadinejad told reporters Monday that his country is looking forward to have normal relations with Egypt.

mubarak 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
mubarak 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Egyptian foreign minister on Tuesday described Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks that his country is willing to restore full diplomatic relations with Egypt as "positive." Ahmed Aboul Gheit told the state run news agency MENA from Pakistan where he is attending a foreign ministers meeting of Islamic countries, that he would discuss the matter with Iranian foreign minister. On Monday, Ahmadinejad told reporters during his visit to the United Arab Emirates that his country is looking forward to have normal relations with Egypt. "If the Egyptian government announced its readiness (to restore relations), we will immediately open an embassy in Cairo," Ahmadinejad said. "We have been waiting for years for the Egyptian side to announce it." He also described restoration of relations as "an advantage to the Islamic nation." Egypt-Iranian relations have improved over the past few years. In 2004, Iran responded to an Egyptian request to change the name of a Tehran street named after one of the assassins of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The move appear to be part of a new Iranian attempt to improve ties with mainly Sunni Arab nations who have been deeply concerned over Tehran's increasing power in the region. Arab U.S. allies also fear that Iraq's Shiite-led government will tip that country toward Iran's sphere and are suspicious of Iran's alliance with the Shiite Hezbollah movement in Lebanon. Tehran broke relations with Egypt following the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. Egypt has repeatedly accused Iran of supporting the militants behind Sadat's 1981 slaying. In turn, Iran was offended when Egypt gave sanctuary to the ousted Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi after the 1979 revolution. The shah, who died in 1980, is buried in Cairo.