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Egyptian MPs participation in Iranian opposition rally not sanctioned by govt: Foreign Ministry

Ahram Online , Thursday 14 Jul 2016
Ahmed Abu Zeid
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid (Photo:Al-Ahram)
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Egyptian MP's participation at an Iranian opposition rally in France was neither governmental nor official, Egypt's foreign ministry said in an official statement on Thursday.

Earlier, Iran summoned Egypt's top envoy in Tehran to "strongly protest" the participation by the MPs in a rally held by oppositional National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) on 9 July in France, referring to it as "a clear interference in our [Iranian] domestic affairs".

In its Thursday statement, Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that the Iranian summons of the Egyptian charge d'affairs in Tehran was to express Iran's denunciation of the Egyptian lawmakers' participation in a rally held by Iranian opposition.

According to Abu Zeid, the top envoy, who was not identified, said that the participation by the Egyptian MPs was not representative of the Egyptian government and was not informed of the lawmakers' decision to attend the event, clarifying that the parliament enjoys independence due to its nature as a legislative authority separate from the executive authority.

Cairo and Tehran officially severed diplomatic relations following Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979.

However, in February 2013, ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi made a historic visit to Tehran, which was followed shortly thereafter by an official visit of then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In April 2013, a tourist group of more than 50 Iranians visited Upper Egypt as part of a bilateral tourism agreement between Cairo and Tehran signed in February of that month.

However, soon afterward, under pressure from ultra-conservative Salafists, the ousted Islamist president cancelled incoming trips from Iran.

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