[Marxism] Al-Assad should start packing his Hermes luggage
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 5 12:32:50 MST 2013
NY Times February 5, 2013
Iran’s President Visits Egypt, in Sign of Thaw
By KAREEM FAHIM and THOMAS ERDBRINK
CAIRO — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traveled to Cairo on Tuesday, the
first visit by an Iranian leader to Egypt since the two countries broke
off diplomatic relations three decades ago and a barometer of the shifts
in regional dynamics underway since the start of the Arab uprisings.
Relations between the two countries have warmed since the toppling of
Egypt’s former president, Hosni Mubarak, who was deeply hostile to
Iran’s leadership and portrayed himself to his allies, including the
United States, the Persian Gulf monarchies and Israel, as a bulwark
against Iranian influence.
Lately, though, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been
promoting the idea that the recent Arab revolutions were inspired by the
Iranian revolution of 1979.
“Egypt is a very important country in the region and the Islamic
Republic of Iran believes it is one of the heavyweights in the Middle
East,” Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, told the state Islamic
Republic News Agency in Munich on Tuesday. “We are ready to further
While the Egypt’s relations with Iran remains limited, the scene on the
tarmac at the Cairo Airport on Tuesday — Egypt’s new president, Mohamed
Morsi, greeting Mr. Ahmedinejad warmly in a red-carpet ceremony — would
have been unimaginable under Mr. Mubarak, and seemed likely to alarm the
Mr. Morsi and Mr. Ahmadinejad discussed “developments in the regional
arena,” including the war in Syria and “means of enhancing relations
between Egypt and Iran,” according to Egypt’s state news agency. Mr.
Ahmadinejad is in Egypt for a three-day visit to attend an Islamic summit.
Since becoming president in June as the candidate of the Muslim
Brotherhood, Mr. Morsi has framed his approach to foreign policy,
including the thaw with Iran, as an effort to chart a more independent
course than that of his predecessor and to reassert Egypt’s historical
regional leadership role. Mr. Morsi has also tried to place Egypt at the
center of negotiations to end the crisis in Syria.
In August, in another historic first, Mr. Morsi traveled to Tehran for
the summit of the Nonaligned Movement, a visit that was seen as helping
to ease Iran’s international isolation.
Analysts say it is unlikely that Egypt and Iran will restore full ties,
noting the pressure on Mr. Morsi to keep his distance from Iran,
particularly from the United States and Egypt’s financial benefactors
among the Persian Gulf monarchies.
During his visit to Tehran in August, Mr. Morsi embarrassed his hosts by
delivering a stinging condemnation of their close ally, President Bashar
al-Assad of Syria, to the delight of allies like Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
In further deference to the Saudis, he omitted mention of the Shiite-led
uprising against Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy.
On Tuesday, Egypt’s foreign minister sought to deliver further
reassurances, saying “the security of the Gulf states is the security of
Egypt,” according the state news agency.
In Cairo, the Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi said on Tuesday
that the relationship with Egypt was “gradually improving,” according to
Reuters. “We have to be a little patient,” he said.
Kareem Fahim reported from Cairo and Thomas Erdbrink from Tehran.
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