Iran eager for third-party help to mend fences with Cairo

Spokesman Hassan Gashgavi says he welcomes the willingness of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to mediate between the two countries.

Mottaki 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Mottaki 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that it would welcome third-party mediation to diffuse tensions between Cairo and Teheran; their relations have reached new lows since Egypt has accused an Iranian-backed Hizbullah cell of plotting attacks on its soil. Spokesman Hassan Gashgavi said he welcomed the willingness of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to mediate between the two countries, according to article published by the Mehr news service on Monday. Gashgavi confirmed Iran's desire to "spread the Islamic brotherly spirit between the countries." Egypt's concern about the main issues facing the Islamic world, "the dangers of the Zionist entity" and its "extremist" regime, had always attracted Iran's attention, he said. But "we hope that Egyptian measures do not please [our] enemies," Gashgavi said. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit has already said that Egypt did not need a mediator, since the issue of the alleged Hizbullah cell was already being handled by the court's judiciary system. Gheit made those comments on Sunday after the Lebanese parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, called for dialogue between Egypt and Hizbullah, saying he considered the rift between the two "differences of opinion." Berri said he could confirm that Hizbullah was not planning to attack tourist or strategic targets in Egypt. Meanwhile, leaders of the alleged Hizbullah terror cell caught in Egypt recently had recruited operatives by pretending they were being drafted into Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigades, A-Sharq al-Awsat reported on Monday. On Sunday, the London-based paper said that among the detainees were two Arab Israeli residents of Sinai and five Muslim Brotherhood members. The two Israeli Arabs, Nimr Fahmi and Nasser Abu Omar, have admitted to providing information to Hizbullah leaders on five Egyptian towns that border Israel, the paper said. The suspects were tasked with acquiring information about the villages, such as the number of medical units, residents, schools, entrances and exits, and on places in southern Sinai from where one could infiltrate Israel, the paper said. Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.