Iran seeks brave move from Egypt to resume ties

AFP, Saturday 23 Apr 2011

Iranian foreign minister in a talk to a group of ambassadors encourages Egypt to renew diplomatic relations after their revolution that ousted former president Mubarak

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Saturday called on Egypt to take a "courageous step" towards renewing diplomatic ties with Tehran, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"We have said that we are ready to raise the level of our relations with Egypt and we hope that the Egyptian officials... will take a courageous step," in that direction, Salehi told a group of ambassadors posted in Iran.

"The Egyptian officials are capable of overcoming the pressure" exerted on Egypt by Israel and the United States who are opposed to a resumption of diplomatic ties between Cairo and Tehran, Salehi added.

Iran broke off diplomatic ties with Egypt in 1980 after the Islamic revolution in protest at Cairo's recognition of Israel, and the two countries now maintain only interests sections in their respective capitals.

Earlier this month, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil El-Arabi declared Cairo was ready to open a "new page" with Tehran.

"The Egyptian and Iranian people deserve relations which reflect their history and civilisation, provided they are based on mutual respect of state sovereignty and non-interference of any kind in internal affairs," he said.

Under Hosni Mubarak, who resigned in February after weeks of protests, Egypt had worked to check the influence of Shiite Iran in the region amid concerns over its nuclear ambitions and support for the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.

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