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Restoration of Iran-Egypt Ties to Strengthen Muslim World: Official

By Nigar Bayramli July 3, 2023

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Iran is now directing its efforts towards Egypt, intending to resume full diplomatic ties after over 40-year fluctuating relationship. / Egyptian Streets

Advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati has noted the importance of the resumption of relations between Iran and Egypt.

He has deemed the resumption of relations between Tehran and Cairo important for both countries, as well as the region and the Muslim World.

"The strategic relations between Iran, China, and Russia are gradually taking shape," Velayati told Aljazeera television network in an exclusive interview, ILNA reported on July 3.

He also said that the resumption will probably lead to a new regional balance with the participation of Saudi Arabia.

Last week, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian voiced Tehran's readiness for rapprochement with Morocco and Egypt, as the Islamic Republic considers normalizing relations with once rival states in the wider region.

"We welcome a return to a normalized state with other countries in the region and the Islamic world, including with the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Muslim brother country Morocco," Amir-Abdollahian said while addressing ambassadors from Muslim countries at a gathering in Tehran to mark the Eid al-Adha holiday on June 29.

The Egypt-Iran relations have been strained since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Oman recently increased mediation efforts towards reconciliation between the two countries. With warming of bilateral relations, Tehran stands to benefit from trade with Egypt as the gateway to Africa, while Cairo would benefit from energy supplies from Iran.

On May 29, responding to the visiting Omani Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said’s remarks on "Egypt's willingness to resume relations with Iran," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that "we welcome this position and have no problem in this regard".

The head of the Iranian interest section in Egypt, Mohammad Hossein Soltanifard, said on July 2 that he does not confirm reports that flights between Tehran and Cairo are set to resume.

He said that a reported planned visit by the Egyptian tourism chief to Iran cannot be confirmed, and added that "it has not gone through official channels".

Soltanifard’s remarks came after the director of the Iranian Air Travel and Tourism Offices, Hormatollah Rafiei, said that such flights will be launched within 45 days.

He said that the first "symbolic flight" was in the offing, pending a permit from the Iranian Roads Ministry, and expressed hope that Egypt and Iran will soon "break the ice" in their strained relations.

Rafiei had visited Cairo late in June for discussions with Egyptian officials, and arrangements had been made for the Egyptian tourism chief to visit Tehran in the coming week.