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article imageEgyptian and Iranian relations improving in wake of Cairo unrest

By Michael Krebs     Apr 20, 2011 in World
Following the popular unrest that swept across Egypt and culminated in the resignation of Egypt's long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, relations between Iran and Egypt now appear to be warming.
Relations between Egypt and Iran have been non-existent since the 1979 Islamic Revolution transformed Iran and after Egypt formally recognized Israel that same year, but after the popular overthrow of Egyptian strongman Mubarak in February it appears that Egyptian and Iranian authorities are seeking closer ties.
"America is trying to sow discord among Shi'ites and Sunnis... they want to create tension between Iran and Arabs... but their plan will fail." Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said on Monday in a speech marking Iran's national Army Day, Asia Times reported.
While Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Arab nation, and while under Mubarak the nation was an ally of the United States and had a comfortable relationship with Israel, Egypt's Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayyeb has invited Iran to play a more positive role in mediating between Sunni and Shiite discord, according to People's Daily. And Iran appears to be rising to the challenge, looking first to the conflict in Bahrain, according to Asia Times.
The prospect of a friendship between Egypt and Iran is one that is being watched carefully by Israel and the United States, as the new Egyptian interim government appears to be moving away from the West.
"Iran is an Islamic country and is not an enemy of Egypt," Field Marshal Tantawi, the head of Egypt's military council, said on April 9, Asia Times reported.
Both nations are reinstating their ambassadors, a move that goes beyond mere symbolism.
"We are ready to take steps," Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said, according to The Telegraph. "We believe that developing relations between Iran and Egypt are in the interest of both countries and the region."
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