Iranian-born political Scientist Kaveh L. Afrasiab has published an analysis of the current relationship between Egypt and Iran titled “Egypt And Iran, New Twin Pillars” that provides a fresh perspective on the meaning of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’ recent remarks at the Non-Aligned Nation Summit in Tehran. The article begins:
Egypt and Iran this week took a giant step toward overcoming their diplomatic estrangement, brought together by the exigencies of a global movement and, even more so, a complex regional calculus that has a long history of being shaped by foreign powers. In a sign of changing times, the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi used the opportunity of his participation in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran to put on full display of the delicate yet significant nuances of a ‘new Egypt’ that has unshackled itself from foreign domination and moves according to its own incandescent atmosphere. At the landmark summit’s opening day, the speeches by Morsi and his Iranian hosts such as by Supreme Leader Ayatollah. Khamenei and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reflected a symbiosis that explains why the NAM torch was passed from Morsi’s hands to Ahmadinejad, in light of the common themes of decrying unjust global structures, support for Palestinians, a Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone, etc. Simultaneously, this was punctuated, yet by no means punctured, by visible disagreements over Syria, as Morsi used the occasion to declare his solidarity with the ‘Syrian people’ against the ‘oppressive’ regime, thus warranting a walk out by the Syrian foreign minister, who likely hoped to see a greater emphasis by Morsi on mediation . But, not all hope is lost and in the same speech Morsi referred to that plan, which he unveiled at a recent meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Mecca, even though so far only Tehran has officially endorsed it; regarding Turkey, a last minute decision to send a special envoy may have saved Turkey from a major self-inflicted wound (see Turkey peculiarly absent at summit, Asia Times Online, August 28, 2012).
Read the rest here.
A post from yesterday reported on Moris’s remarks that were called a “a stinging rebuke” of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
A post from June reported that President Morsi denied that he gave an interview to an Iranian news agency in which he was supposed to have said that Egypt would seek closer relations with Iran. Whether or not the interview is authentic, there are reasons to believe that Egypt under a Muslim Brotherhood government will seek closer ties to Iran. In a 2009 piece titled “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, Rapprochement between Sunnis and Shiites?”, Washington Institute for Near East Policy scholar Mehdi Khalaji looked at the relationship between the Egyptian government, the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. According to the report:
During a February trip to Iran, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal praised Iranian leaders for their support during the conflict in the Gaza Strip, a further indication of the strengthening ties between the Sunni Islamist group, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization, and the Shiite regime in Tehran. Mashal’s statements come on the heels of the U.S. Treasury Department’s terrorist designations of al-Qaeda leaders and operatives sheltered in Iran. These latest examples of Sunni-Shiite cooperation raise new questions about whether Iran can improve its relationship with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. While such a rapprochement appears unlikely, history suggests it is far from impossible. Iran has maintained informal ties to the Muslim Brotherhood for many years, and Shiite Islam probably has more appeal among Egyptian Sunnis than it does among Sunnis in other Arab countries. Iran’s sharp criticism of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is also likely to resonate with Egyptian radicals under the thumb of the regime in Cairo. If Iran were to develop close relations with the Brotherhood, Iranian influence would grow considerably in the Arab world, giving Tehran a significant say among Arab radicals and, undoubtedly, producing dangerous developments for U.S. interests in the region.
A previous post had also looked at the possibility of a closer relationship between the Egyptian Brotherhood and Iran.