Iran's charge d'affaires in Cairo: Our disputes with Egypt can be solved easily

Ahram Online , Friday 11 Mar 2016

In a rare meeting with local journalists, the Iranian charge d'affaires said that Iranian companies and investors were interested in Egypt

First commercial flight took off from Cairo Airport to Tehran on March 30 (Photo: Air Memphis website)

The Iranian charge d'affairs in Egypt, Mahmoud Mahmoudian, told a group of Egyptian journalists in a rare meeting on Wednesday that Tehran's disputes with Egypt could be solved easily by dialogue, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.

In the meeting at his office in Heliopolis, Mahmoudian denied accusations that Iran wanted to spread Shiism in Egypt or in other Arab countries.

"Iran has not tried to spread Shiism among the 10 million Sunni Iranians who currently live in our country," Mahmoudian argued.

Speaking about Khaled Islambouli Street in Tehran, which is named after President Anwar El-Sadat's assassin, Mahmoudian said that it was a secondary matter and that Iranians typically still used the old name of the street, "the ministers' street."

Mahmoudian also told the Egyptian reporters that there were Iranian investors and companies that are willing to work in Egypt, which they consider a gateway to Africa.

Regarding Tehran's rocky relations with Saudi Arabia, the Iranian official said that his country was trying to rebuild a positive relation with Riyadh but claimed the kingdom did not want the same thing.

Mahmoudian also said that Iran had already apologised for and denounced the storming of the Saudi embassy and consulate in Tehran and Mashhad in January.

Earlier this year, a mob attacked both the Saudi embassy and the consulate in Tehran and Mashhad following the execution of Saudi Shiite Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr.

Mahmoudian also said that Iran was calling for a dialogue between Saudi officials and Houthis rebels, who Iran backs in Yemen.

Egypt officially severed its diplomatic relations with Iran following the country's Islamic revolution in 1979.

However, the relationship became warmer under former president Mohamed Morsi; the then-president paid a visit to Tehran in August 2012 to attend a Non-Aligned Movement summit and held talks with his Iranian counterpart at the time, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad then visited Cairo in February 2013.

In March 2013, the first commercial flights from Iran to Egypt in three decades began with Air Memphis.

Following Morsi's ouster in July 2013, the relationship has cooled.

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