Egypt confirmed Sunday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to attend a major summit of Islamic countries in Cairo next month, possibly signaling warming ties between Egypt’s new regime and Tehran.
Aside from attending the 12th conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ahmadinejad is scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, the Iranian semi-official Fars News Agency quoted the head of Egypt’s Interest Section in Tehran saying.
Egypt does not have an embassy in Tehran, and bilateral relations were severed in 1980 following the Islamic revolution and Egypt’s signing of the Camp David Accords with Israel.
However, there have been signs of a thaw since deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak’s rule gave way to a more Islamist government in Cairo last year.
In 2012, Iran dispatched its first diplomat to the Egyptian capital in three decades. That summer, Morsi traveled to Tehran to deliver an address to a major meeting of the UN’s Non-Aligned Movement, though he ruffled some feathers by criticizing Syria, which Iran considers an ally. He also met with Ahmadinejad during that visit.
The head of Egypt’s interest section in Tehran, Khalid al-Said Ibrahim Amari, also said the Egyptian government would be willing to host renewed talks between Iran and the six major world powers should the sides decide to proceed with negotiations over Iran’s unsanctioned nuclear program.
“Egypt will support Iran to achieve its right for peaceful nuclear technology and believes that the only way to solve Iran’s nuclear problem is negotiation,” the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting quoted Amari saying.
“Resumption of ties between the two countries, which enjoy major political weight, will powerfully affect the Middle East region,” Yasser Mohraz, a spokesman of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood party, told Fars on Saturday.
“There is no doubt that the issue and the closeness between the two is a matter of concern to the US and Israel,” he added.
Mamdouh Ismaeil, a former Egyptian legislator, told the news agency last Wednesday that “relations between Iran and Egypt weaken Israel.”
Following the 2011 revolution in Egypt, Iranian and Egyptian officials voiced their interest in the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Earlier this month, Morsi met with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in Cairo.