Egypt says it wants Iran to play positive role

Egyptian FM: Iran a "rising power" in the region, but it has no desire to uphold "Arab interests."

gheit 224 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
gheit 224 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Egypt constantly calls on Iran to use its influence in the Middle East in a positive manner, according to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. "Egypt sees Iran as a rising power in the Arab world," Army Radio quoted Gheit as saying in an interview Sunday. "The political cards that Iran is holding," he went on, "are [for the purpose of] defending Iranian interests. Maybe that's Iran's right, but Egypt has the right to defend Arab territory." Speaking of the controversial Iranian nuclear program, Gheit said that "the argument between Iran and the US and Europe affects the Palestinians and Lebanon in a negative way." "Iran is looking for momentum from abroad," said Gheit, speaking of discussions between Iran and Western countries about its nuclear program, but claimed that it will only be able to find that push from Arab countries. He reiterated that the nuclear issue had a negative effect on the "Palestinian question" and the situation in Lebanon. "Iran's power is on the up at the moment," he went on, stressing again that his country constantly calls on the Islamic Republic to be a positive influence in the region. Gheit also mentioned Iranian influence on Iraq and Hizubllah, saying again that whilst Iran "holds many cards," it has "no desire to defend Arab interests."