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Morsi sparks controversy with anti-Assad comments in Tehran
In a major speech at Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, President Morsi says Syrian regime has lost legitimacy, makes conciliatory comments about 'sister' Islamic Republic of Iran
Dina Ezzat , Tehran, Thursday 30 Aug 2012
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Mursi In Iran
In this photo released by the official website of the Iranian presidency office, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, second right, welcomes Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi for the opening session of the Nonaligned Movement, NAM, summit, in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.(Photo:AP)

President Mohamed Morsi entered Tehran's Summit Conference Hall on Thursday morning to hand over the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The fact that Morsi chose to accept the Iranian invitation to be in Tehran, with which Cairo has not had full diplomatic relations for three decades, was itself a revolutionary move.

What was indeed more revolutionary was Morsi's speech to the opening session of the NAM summit, the 16th since its establishment during the Cold War.

At the beginning of his speech Morsi made his by now common Islamist reference, "May God's peace be upon his Prophet Mohamed." 

He added, "And may the peace of God be on the holy family of the Prophet." This reference to the 'family of Prophet Mohamed' might have been designed to send a positive message to his predominantly Shia hosts who are said to have been offended by remarks he made during a July visit to Saudi Arabia, another Sunni power in the Middle East, which indicated a Sunni-Shia polarisation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on one hand and Iran on the other.

Then Morsi went further and paid the most unusual tribute in a political speech at an international summit to the Sahaba (close associates) of Prophet Mohamed: Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman and Ali.

The reference to Ali, the most holy member of the Prophet Mohamed's family in the eyes of Shias, could have been perceived by Morsi's Shia audience in the conference hall as flattering had it not come after references to Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman, who are abhorred by Shias and whose role in early Muslim history is not even mentioned in the history books of Iranian schools.

A non-traditional reference was also made by Morsi when referring to Egypt's role in the launch of the NAM in the 1950s. "At the time Nasser was expressing the will of the people (of Egypt) to defy colonisation," Morsi said.

The fact that this first ever civilian, Islamist and freely elected Egyptian president, who comes from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was an opponent of the Mubarak regime  – despite short intervals of cooperation – makes a reference to Nasser is again something that goes beyond the predictable. However, the style of the reference is not necessarily free of all pejorative implications, at least to the ears of an average Nasser admirer.

The norm has been that Nasser is referred to in this context as "Leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser, one of the champions of the march against colonisation."

Beyond his references to Ali and Nasser, Morsi's speech included other non-traditional comments.

The president's references to the Palestinian cause broke away from the usual déjà vu statements about the right of Palestinians to statehood – and it certainly made no reference to the now notorious "two-state solution."

Instead, Morsi made some coherent statements about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people – things that had almost completely dropped out of official Egyptian discourse on the Palestinian issue.

On Syria, Morsi's speech all but equated the Assad regime with the Israeli occupation of Palestine when he referred to "the struggle for freedom by the Palestinian and Syrian peoples."

Furthermore, Morsi said the Assad regime "had lost all legitimacy" and it was not enough to show sympathy towards the Syrian people, but the time had come to act upon this sympathy.

Morsi's statements on Syria certainly went way beyond the liking of his Iranian hosts who remain committed to the Assad regime, and caused the Syrian delegation to leave the conference hall.

Indeed, Iranian officials almost never speak of a "Syrian revolution" but of "unrest in Syria."

Morsi also went beyond the expected when he called the Iranian president "my dear brother" upon turning over the presidency of summit from Egypt to Iran. Interestingly, he called Iran "the sister Islamic republic of Iran."

Moreover, Morsi made the traditional references to the role of the NAM in pursuing a more peaceful and less discriminatory world in which the UN Security Council is freed from the veto hegemony of the five permanent members, and the UN General Assembly is made more effective in running world affairs.

Morsi also observed his self-made tradition of referring to the unity of "the Egyptian people and its glorious army" during the 25 January Revolution.

Also maintained was Morsi's tradition of following his reference to "Egypt is a civil state" – this time around he added "in every sense of the word" – with the phrase Egypt is "a national, constitutional, democratic and modern state."  

Morsi arrived in Tehran for the NAM summit on Thursday morning. He is scheduled to return to Cairo later in the day after a five-day trip that started in and was largely spent in Beijing, where he explored avenues for wider economic and trade cooperation.





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13



Max
31-08-2012 09:30pm
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Assad surives because...
It is a bit unfair when looking at so called a- Syrian revolution or I rather say b- Syria's unrest or better still to say c- Syria's designed uprising by ... with the help of moslem exterimist (mercenaries) from outside Syria, not to notice the fact that after 18 months of ( a or b or c) Assad is still surviving and this is only because a good majority of Syrians are behind Beshar Assad and his regime however it govern's the Syria.
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Karim
10-09-2012 10:36am
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Russian weapons and Iranian fighters
So russian and iranian help is not foreign Intervention, right?
12



mohammad
31-08-2012 09:24am
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praying !
Just god saves middle east from radicals ! those that say other muslims are infidels and shake hand with US and zionists.
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Karim
02-09-2012 09:44pm
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you mean
You mean like Maliki, hat rhode on american Tanks to power, right?
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FARSHAD
31-08-2012 05:05am
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IRAN SUPPORTS TRUE ISLAMIC DEMOCRATIC CHANGES
Iranian government will oppose any change in Syria which is dictated from out side and is carried by fenatic Islamists who only kill and bring hatered. Please make a distinction that Iran would be pleased to see and INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATIC ISLAMIC SYRIA and will always support such cause. Right now U.S. and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey want to destroy Syria's resistance axis against Israel; they are not in favor of strong Islamic Syria.
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Karim
10-09-2012 10:57am
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Secterian Democracy
Iran only accepts Democracy only if the majority of people are shias. Like in Bahrain.Thats the truth.
Farshad
01-09-2012 04:39pm
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IRAN SUPPORTS TRUE ISLAMIC DEMOCRATIC CHANGES
1. AFGHANISTAN WAS IN THE STATE OF KAOS RAN BY AL QAEDA AND TALIBAN
Ali
01-09-2012 08:11am
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Iraq someone?
"Iranian government will oppose any change in Syria which is dictated from out side and is carried by fenatic Islamists who only kill and bring hatered. " You mean like in Iraq and Afghanistan where you cooperated with the US to bring your Friends in to power. Iran is al for foreign Intervention when it is in it`s favor and in the interest of "great Persia" from Afghanistan which shares a border with China to Syria with it`s access to the Mediterranean. What do you think about the Hama massacre of the 1982 where according the the Stasi 45000 got killed in cold Blood. Why you Puppet Maliki insisted on the destruction of the "anti-imperialist" Baath Party in Iraq. .
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Al Maqdishee
31-08-2012 12:18am
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Honest man
Straight shooter right from the hip, I like his style. And Erdogan, what can I say, the man of the century. Just imagine what they can achieve together,may Allah SWT protect both of them.
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9



mehmet
30-08-2012 10:11pm
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i love morsi
Finally Morsi joins his brother Erdogan. Erdogan has been the main bulwark against this tyrant Assad despite threats from supporters of assad (i.e PKK, Iran and other anti-islamic entities) and now he feels sigh of relief from support of his brother morsi. next meeting should be with erdogan to plan the overthrow of the tyrant assad and bring Muslim brothers in powers through people choice inshallah
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Mona
30-08-2012 11:21pm
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Erdogan brother..finally
You said it..finally we see Morsi on the side of Western and Zionist puppys just as Mubarak was! Many of Syrian Christian massacred are grand children of Turkish Armenian Génocide. Let see if Al Ahram publish my comment.
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Amin
30-08-2012 09:19pm
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good start
well we should understand Morsi. he is at his first steps. Egypt and Iran can solve the crisis in Syria fairly. when Iran calls for referandum in Palestine it can not disagree with one in Syria ! this article is just counting 0.01% difference with Shias and Sunnies. moreover there is no hatred towards Abubakr, Othman or Omar but Shias say they are not Ah_Albeit, Is this wrong !?
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7



zakki
30-08-2012 08:58pm
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Islamic sister
Such country as Iran, which is just Dictatorship of mad Islamist to have as "Sister" is big luck for Egypt...
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6



Kevin
30-08-2012 08:58pm
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A bit disapointing
Even though he condemned the Assad regime, he didn't mention a word about the Rebels. Given that who is behind the Rebels (Israel, US, Saudi's, Turks and Quateri Funds and arms). Offcourse he continues to receive funding from US and Qatar so no surprise there. The problem with him is he needs to select which side of fence he wants to stand on. The speech was geard toward satisfaction of US and sabotage of the NAM so it was a bit disappointing as expectation were high for him.
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Karaim
10-09-2012 10:55am
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A bit disappointing
what do you want from him. The sectarian Assad regime killed 45 Muslim brothers in 1982. He sides with the MAJORITY. Like Your Puppet Maliki sided with the Majority. Understand?
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Shadia
30-08-2012 08:58pm
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Morsi will have Egypt in a war
Morsi does not know war and he is going to have Egypt in a war if he keeps it up. Because he is nothing but a puppet!!!
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Hiyam
30-08-2012 09:41pm
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on peace and war
war with whom? Do you equate dignity and national honor with waging war?
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Kevin
30-08-2012 08:52pm
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A bit disapointing
Even though he condemned the Assad regime, he didn't mention a word about the Rebels. Given that who is behind the Rebels (Israel, US, Saudi's, Turks and Quateri Funds and arms). Offcourse he continues to receive funding from US and Qatar so no surprise there. The problem with him is he needs to select which side of fence he wants to stand on. The speech was geard toward satisfaction of US and sabotage of the NAM so it was a bit disappointing as expectation were high for him.
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Syrian citizen
30-08-2012 09:39pm
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10+
Assad regfimne must go
The "rebels" want to free their people from Alawite colonialism. A government that bombs and destroyes its own civilians is worse than a foreign occupation.

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