Egypt-Iran Rapprochement: Prospects and Challenges
The strained Egypt-Iran relationship has long been marked by pragmatism by both sides. But with President Morsi gearing up to visit Tehran, how far will the Brotherhood go to open a new chapter with the Islamic Republic?
by Dina Samir August 29 2012, first published in al-Ahram Online
President Mohamed Morsi is heading to Iran on Thursday for a four hours visit to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, in a move that signifies a diplomatic shift in the history of Egypt-Iran relations and that could see the restoration of ties between the two countries.
Despite the fact that there is no clear Egyptian policy on the issue, the potential for future Iran-Egypt relations is there, Elizabeth Iskander, research fellow at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies, said.
Mustafa Ellabbad, director of Al-Sharq Centre for Regional and Strategic Studies, said that President Morsi’s visit to Tehran was an important step for widening Egypt’s room for manoeuvre and challenging attempts by the Gulf states to blackmail the country through promises of conditional financial aid.
The visit will also be central to mediating a solution to the Syria crisis that cannot be reached without ties with Iran, which is a stumbling block on the path to resolution because of its support for the Syrian regime, Ellabbad explained.
Since the downfall of the Mubarak regime early last year, Iranian officials have expressed enthusiasm over the prospect of restarting relations with Egypt.