Egypt to sue Iran news agency over 'fabricated' Morsi interview

Ahram Online & AFP, Wednesday 27 Jun 2012

Egypt plans to sue Iranian news agency for 'making up' interview with new president-elect in which the latter reportedly pledges to bolster ties with Tehran

A man watches the televised address by Muslim Brotherhood's president-elect Mohamed Morsy in Cairo June 24, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt plans to sue an Iranian news agency for having allegedly fabricated an interview with President-elect Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported on Wednesday.

MENA quoted the Islamist leader's spokesman, Yassir Ali, as saying that Iran's Fars news agency had "made up" a widely quoted interview in which Morsi said he planned to improve ties with Iran and revise Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

"Legal action will be taken against the Iranian Fars news agency, which fabricated the interview," Ali said.

The Egyptian presidency on Monday denied that Morsi had given an interview to Iran's Fars news agency, in which he reportedly pledged to strengthen ties with the Islamic republic.

"Mr. Morsi did not give any interview to Fars; everything that this agency has published is without foundation," a spokesman for the Egyptian presidency told MENA.

Earlier this week, Fars published what it said was an interview with Morsi in which Egypt's first democratically-elected civilian president said he wanted to build ties with Iran, severed in 1980.

Morsi was also quoted as saying by Fars that he would "reconsider" the US-brokered Camp David Accords that led to the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

"Part of my agenda is the development of ties between Iran and Egypt, which will create a strategic balance in the region," Morsi was quoted as saying.

The Islamic republic broke off diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1980, one year after Cairo signed its peace treaty with the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

Fars said Morsi had given the interview to one of its reporters in Cairo on Sunday, just before Morsi's electoral victory was announced.

But in a speech to the Egyptian nation after his victory was confirmed, Morsi pledged to respect all international treaties signed by Cairo.

Also on Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for stronger ties between Iran and Egypt following Morsi's electoral win, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported.

"I congratulate you on becoming the leader of Egypt, a friendly and brotherly country," Ahmadinejad said in a statement addressed to Morsi, calling for "the reinstatement of ties between the two countries," IRNA reported.

Although Iran's predominant faith is Shiite Islam – while the Muslim Brotherhood adheres to the Sunni branch of Islam – Tehran has reportedly reached out to the Egyptian organisation in recent months.

Morsi is Egypt's first Islamist president and its first democratically-elected leader since last year's Tahrir Square uprising that led to the ouster of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak.

Short link: