Egyptian President-elect Morsi looks to strengthen ties with Iran, re-examine pact with Israel

Freshly elected leader tells Iranian news agency he wants a strategic balance in the region, stresses commitment to Palestinian rights

Mohammed Morsi (photo credit: Egypt State TV/AP)
Mohammed Morsi (photo credit: Egypt State TV/AP)

Newly elected Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said he was interested in expanding ties with Tehran, while also calling for unity in the country and peace with the world.

In an interview with Iran’s FARS news agency hours before the official results were released Sunday, Morsi said he wished to boost his country’s relations with Tehran. “This will create a balance of pressure in the region, and this is part of my program,” Morsi was quoted as saying.

Morsi also reportedly told FARS he saw his country as fully Israel’s equal. He would also work toward ensuring Palestinian rights, he said. FARS reported that Morsi said he, together with the government and state authorities, would re-examine the Camp David Accords with Israel.

In his first televised speech on state TV after being declared the leader of Egypt, on Sunday evening, Morsi took a less controversial line, calling for internal unity and saying he carries “a message of peace” to the world.

Morsi pledged to preserve Egypt’s international accords — a nonspecific reference to the peace deal with Israel — saying, “We will honor international treaties and agreements, and will create balanced international relations based on mutual interests and respect.”

“I’m fully aware of the challenges ahead, but I’m confident with your support we can overcome this transitional period,” added Morsi.

He said Egypt would not allow other countries to meddle in its affairs, in a possible reference to accusations over the weekend that the US had attempted to influence the outcome of the elections.

In a non-confrontational speech, he did not mention the last-minute power grab by the ruling military that stripped the president of many of his major powers.

Morsi became Egypt’s first freely elected leader Sunday, when an elections commission announced he had beaten secular candidate Ahmed Shafiq in a hotly contested race.

Morsi hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, a hard-line Islamic party, leading to fears in Israel that the already cold peace between the countries could be further harmed with his election.

Egypt’s foreign minister said last year that Cairo was ready to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran, which has championed most Arab Spring uprisings as anti-Western rebellions inspired by its own Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed