Newly elected Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is to travel to Iran next month, fueling expectations in Tehran of a warming of relations with Egypt under its Muslim Brotherhood leadership.
Morsi will participate in an international conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, Egyptian and Lebanese media outlets reported on Tuesday afternoon.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying he hoped the visit would strengthen ties between the two countries and lead to an upgrading of their diplomatic relations, with the re-opening of their embassies and an exchange of ambassadors.
Morsi automatically became chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement when he took on presidential responsibilities last week, the Prensa Latina news agency reported, but will relinquish the position during next month’s meeting to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Last week, Morsi denied an Iranian report that said he wanted to strengthen ties with Iran. The Iranian Fars News Agency claimed to have interviewed him, and quoted him saying, “This will create a balance of pressure in the region, and this is part of my program.” The same article also claimed he had said he would reconsider the peace treaty with Israel.
Egypt’s Al-Ahram, citing the official MENA news agency, quoted Morsi’s spokesman as saying that Morsi had not granted an interview to Fars and that everything printed in the article was “without foundation.”
The Non-Aligned Movement is made up of a large group of states considering themselves not formally aligned with or against any major international power bloc. The group typically takes positions critical of US foreign policy.